Over the last couple of days, there were several reports circulating around about the possibility of a space station crashing on Earth and Malaysia might be hit.
Sounds a lot like a movie plot, doesn’t it?
It was reported
that the orbit of China’s first space station, Tiangong-1 is expected to re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere
sometime between January and March next year and its debris could crash into several cities around the world, including Kuala Lumpur
Initial reports that horrified many KL-ites said that the capital city lies smack in the middle of the space station’s orbital course, hence why it is a potential crash zone.
However, before you start panicking and making your escape plans, we may have some good news from the Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (Mosti) and the National Space Agency (Angkasa), so buckle up.
According to a statement released on Thursday, the probability of Tiangong-1 crashing into Malaysia is extremely low --
a 0.09 per cent
chance to be exact -- because the total area involved is larger than merely one country, reported by The Star
Based on calculations, the width of the area between latitudes of 43 degrees North to 43 degrees South reportedly spans an estimated 347,860,000 square km, including Malaysia.
Besides Malaysia and specifically Kuala Lumpur, this area also comprises of Singapore (1.35 degrees North), Sydney, Australia (33.86 degrees South), Florida, America (27.66 degrees North) and Beijing, China (39.90 degrees North), said Angkasa director general Dr Noordin Ahmad.
So, if you put the size of Kuala Lumpur into perspective, which is 243.65 square km, chances of the space station hitting the city is very, very low
, as in only a 0.0000699 per cent
Other than that, data from data.gov.my and the Information Department reportedly shows that after taking into account the overall area of Malaysia which spans 329,960.22 square km, we don’t really have to start thinking about the end of the world.
To keep you up to speed about Tiangong-1, which means Heavenly Palace, it was first launched in September 2011 by China’s National Space Administration (CNSA) from Jiuquan, Gansu Province.
Since then, it has accommodated a number of Chinese astronauts called the taikonauts
for two years and has reportedly been unmanned since 2013.
Although experts reported that the space station is suffering from a lot of mechanical and technical problems, China has said that a big chunk of it will be destroyed when it plunges into the Earth’s atmosphere.
This was stated in a note from China to the United Nations dated 4 May 2017 and can be found at the United Nation of Outer Space Affair (UNOOSA) website.
Angkasa, as well as international space agencies like ESA, NASA, JAXA and CNSA, are closely monitoring the developments of Tiangong-1 every day from now until the expected crash period
early next year, so let’s all keep calm and wait for the necessary updates.