Space alarm. China’s 21-tonne Long March 5B rocket, which was launched into orbit on Sunday, July 24 from China, is said to be in an “out of control” free fall on its way to Earth. International space scientists are in turmoil: a rocket may not burn up completely upon re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere, thus generating a rain of debris like the one that hit the Indian Ocean in May 2021.
The rocket, which took off on Sunday from the Wenchang launch pad on the southern island of Hainan, was carrying a new solar-powered laboratory to dock with China’s Tiangong space station. Scientists say the rocket’s flight path will be difficult to predict, due to fluctuations in the atmosphere caused by constant changes in solar activity. But the Chinese Foreign Ministry responded that the probability of harming something or someone was “very low”. Wait and breathe on the weekend, when the rocket hits the ground.
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