Out-of-control Chinese rocket boosters will crash into the earth on Saturday, and 88% of Earth’s population is in the potential crash zone

On July 24th, China launched a rocket into space as part of its Tiangong space station program. Now, a rocket booster from the launch is hurtling back towards Earth, and scientists warn that it could hit an inhabited area.

A Long March 5b Chinese rocket launch

Weighing 22 metric tons, or 45,5000 pounds, the debris is expected to re-enter the atmosphere this weekend.

While precisely where the debris will land is still uncertain, preliminary models by the Aerospace Corporation show 88% of Earth’s inhabited area being potentially hit by the debris. This includes all of Central America, Australia, India, Africa, and much of Asia.

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Generally, only around 20-40% of the mass of an object reentering Earth’s atmosphere will actually make it to the ground. However, it is uncertain how much of the rocket booster will make it to the ground, as this varies by design.

Approximately 75% of the potential reentry zone is uninhabited desert or ocean, but the remaining 25% contains 88% of Earth’s population. This means that there is a 25% chance of inhabited land being struck, and that there is a potential for death and destruction in this scenario.

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Still, the Aerospace Corporation argues that the destruction from it would be less than that of a “single cruise missile strike” in the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, and that it provides more of an opportunity for visual spectacle than actual risk.

Still, Chinese incompetence and recklessness are once again posing a threat to people outside their nation.

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