New Delhi: When Chinese space agency launched its space lab Tiangong-1 in 2011, little did they expect it to come 'crashing' back to Earth five years later.
The Asian country's first space station that was hailed as a potent political symbol of China’s growing power, is expected to crash land some time during 2017.
Fuelling speculation that Chinese space authorities have lost control over the 8.5-tonne module, the Guardian reported that the ‘Heavenly Palace’ lab will have most of its parts burning up during falling next year.
Normally, these kind of spacecrafts are made to return to Earth over an ocean, in order to burn up in a controlled and safe manner, however, if China really has lost control of Tiangong-1, it means no one knows where it's going to land up.
Last week, officials said at a satellite launch centre in the Gobi Desert that the unmanned module had now “comprehensively fulfilled its historical mission” and was set to re-enter the earth’s atmosphere at some point in the second half of 2017.
“Based on our calculation and analysis, most parts of the space lab will burn up during falling,” the deputy director of China’s manned space engineering office, Wu Ping, was quoted as saying by official news agency Xinhua.
This announcement seemed to be a give away that China had actually lost control of the 10.4m-long module after it suffered some kind of technical or mechanical failure and that they won't be able to control its descent to Earth.
Scientists have assured that they'll monitor the falling space lab cosely to sound an alert for areas in danger of the falling debris.
As per Hindustan Times, Jonathan McDowell, renowned Harvard astrophysicist and space industry enthusiast said that a slight change in atmospheric conditions could nudge the landing site “from one continent to the next”.