The Chinese rocket, which has been flying uncontrolled through space for over a week, is likely to crash into the planet this weekend.
Exactly where and when this will happen is still unclear, but the United States may already think sometime on Saturday. According to the US, there is a real chance that debris will land on inhabited areas, but China considers the chance that space debris will cause damage to land is extremely small .
What missile are we talking about?
China launched the first part of its new space station called Tianhe in late April.
After a few minutes, the Long March 5B launch vehicle separated from the Tianhe module as planned.
However, China did not retain control of the missile.
More than a week after launch, the 5B is making its last orbits before it crashes.
Potential crash area is enormous
The chances are very high that the unguided missile will fall into the sea, simply because the Earth's surface consists of about 71 percent water.
In addition, most parts of the 20-ton rocket will burn up if they are released back into the atmosphere, China claims.
According to the European Space Agency ESA, the debris will likely land in a strip of latitude 41 degrees north to 41 degrees south latitude.
This is a huge area that starts at the height of Southern Europe, the US, the Middle East and Japan and ends at South America, South Africa and the south of Australia.
With the rocket shooting through space at a dizzying speed of 27,600 kilometers per hour and making a circle around the world every 90 minutes, it is currently impossible to predict exactly where the thing will land in the area calculated by ESA.
The routes that the rocket follows are known.
China previously lost control of missile
It would not be the first time that a Chinese missile falls back to Earth uncontrollably.
In May last year, this happened in the Atlantic Ocean near the coast of West Africa.
Despite this, large long metal bars flew through the air above Ivory Coast and several buildings in that country were damaged.
Chinese missile is going to crash on Earth, but how dangerous is that?Keywords: