Falling Chinese Space Station Possible Hit In U.S. As Stats Narrow, One Person In History Hit By Space Debris

There's only one documented case in history of falling space debris hitting a person as the latest bit of space junk hurls its way toward Earth.

Triff / Shutterstock

There's only one documented case in history of falling space debris hitting a person as the latest bit of space junk hurls its way toward Earth.

“The sky is falling, the sky is falling,” are Chicken Little’s famous words, but it appears that fictional story may be coming to life as a Chinese space station is expected to make an uncontrolled re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere with the possible when and where stats just revealed. There are two problems with this 8.5-ton space station hurling toward the planet with the first being any debris that make it through the atmosphere without burning up during reentry possibly falling on someone or something.

The second concern is a “highly toxic chemical” on board that space station, which is a chemical that humans should not be exposed to. According to the Daily Mail, experts from Aerospace’s Center for Orbital and Reentry Debris Studies have updated the stats for the Chinese Space Station’s uncontrolled reentry, which are seen below in the article.

Throughout modern history, satellites and space junk have fallen from the skies. Much like that old adage says, “What goes up must come down,” and eventually the objects that have been launched into space and orbiting the planet may just make it back to Earth like the Tiangong-1 Space Station headed this way now.

Only one person in history is believed to have been hit with falling space debris

According to the Aerospace.org website, it is believed that there is only one woman in history who was hit by falling space junk and she happens to live in the U.S., which is where this happened. Her name is Lottie Williams and she was hit by a falling piece of space junk, which makes her one of a kind on this planet

Earth from space
  IM_photo / Shutterstock

Her story started one day back in January of 1997 when she was out walking through a park in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with two friends. It was 3:30 a.m. when they spotted a spectacular fireball streaming through the sky.

Thinking it was a “shooting star,” she was in awe over what she just witnessed, calling the sight “beautiful.” It was almost 30 minutes later when Lottie felt a “tap on her shoulder, scaring her enough to make her run, without turning around, reports Fox News.

While she was still with her friends, neither one was standing within arms-length so she knew it wasn’t one of them who just tapped her. She thought a stranger might have appeared out of the shadows at the time until she heard something fall to the ground.

She said the weight of the object could be compared to what an empty soda can would weigh. She picked it up and although it looked like a piece of fabric, it made the sound of metal when you tapped on it, according to Lotty.

That was the start of her investigation. She first went to the local library and was referred to the local astronomy club. From there it went nationally, with the sample of metal fabric headed off to the National Weather Service. The road of discovery continued to the University of Tulsa’s Department of Geosciences.

The professor at the University of Tulsa who analyzed this piece of space junk, Dr. Winton Cornell, believed it was a piece of material used by NASA to insulate fuel tanks on rockets. From there, it went to the Center for Orbital and Reentry Debris Study or CORD. Further analysis confirmed that it was a piece of blackened, woven material that at one time was part of the fuel tank in a Delta II rocket. That rocket had launched a U.S. Air Force satellite back in 1996.

Lottie, who was not hurt, was the only person on record to ever get hit with a falling piece of space junk and thankfully she lived to tell her story.

Chinese Space Station’s estimated falling to Earth date and possible places it will hit on the globe

Now with the Chinese Space Station Hurling toward Earth with an estimated arrival time only a few weeks away, there are plenty of areas that are potential targets for this uncontrolled landing.

The estimated date this space station is expected to make its reentry as it hurls towards Earth is narrowed down to the timeline of somewhere in between March 24 to April 19, 2018. This estimate comes with two weeks of error, one week before and one week after April 3. Where this will come down and make contact with the ground is slightly harder for the experts to pinpoint.

According to a previous Inquisitr article, the northern part of the U.S. is a possible strike zone in the stats that have been worked out by the experts. The experts have agreed upon an area that falls somewhere between latitudes of 43 degrees north and 43 degrees south. With Lower Michigan falling into the regions listed as having “the highest probability of debris landing.”

Regions with a higher chance of being the landing zone of the out of control space station

According to the Daily Mail, “Northern China, central Italy, northern Spain, the Middle East, New Zealand, Tasmania, South America, southern Africa, and northern states in the U.S. have been identified as the regions with higher chances.”

Aerospace Corporation revealed that “parts of southern Lower Michigan are among the regions that have the highest probability of being hit with fallen debris,” according to MLive.com.

The 8.5-ton craft started its uncontrolled journey to the Earth in 2016 when all control of the space station was lost. Since that time, the data has been calculated for the where and when of this space station hitting Earth. As the days get closer, scientists expect to offer a clearer picture as to the stats of where and when the Tiangong 1 comes down. The possibility of debris hitting Earth can vary from none at all to some bigger chunks that don’t completely burn up upon reentry.