The report began by recalling similar incidents that occurred previously, and explained that “debris from space reached Earth several times, the most recent of which was last year.”
The good news is that debris is falling towards the ground, and although a cause for concern, it does not pose a major safety threat. “It’s not the end of the world,” said Harvard astrophysicist Jonathan McDowell.
The Chinese missile raised new questions about space debris, the uncontrolled return to Earth, and the necessary precautions that should be taken in such cases.
And about how uncontrolled space debris collides with the Earth, most of the pieces will burn in the Earth’s atmosphere before they reach the surface, but larger parts of objects, such as rockets, can enter through the atmosphere and reach populated areas.
And last year, one of the largest uncontrolled pieces of space debris passed directly over Los Angeles and Central Park in New York City before landing in the Atlantic Ocean.
The weight of the debris is about 20 tons, and it is an empty part of the Chinese missile, and it is considered the largest piece of space to fall uncontrollably on Earth since 1991 and the fourth largest piece in the world to fall to Earth.
The largest pieces of Chinese missile remnants were from NASA’s “Skylab Space Station” in 1979, a piece of the Skylab missile in 1975, and the “Salyut 7” space station of the Soviet Union in 1991. The space shuttle “Columbia” from 2003 can be added. To that list since NASA lost control of it upon its landing and back on Earth.
The US Defense Department said on Wednesday that the bulk of the missile launched by a Chinese space station is expected to fall into the ground early Saturday in an unknown location.
Similar incidents are few because space agencies around the world try to avoid leaving large objects in orbit, which have the ability to re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere, because they cannot control them.
McDowell said that there are no rules, controls, international law, or a rule governing space waste, and it is limited to the practices of some countries. As for “larger missiles,” he said, “Let’s not leave our waste in orbit in this way.”
He pointed out that the Chinese missile, which is scheduled to enter the Earth’s atmosphere at the end of this week, is designed in a way that “leaves large pieces of it in low orbit, and this is not good compared to what other space agencies do that avoid doing so.”
According to the report, the debris floating in space is estimated at 9,000 tons of scrap, equivalent to the weight of 720 school buses, which is hundreds of thousands and possibly millions of objects orbiting in an uncontrolled orbit.
The debris includes pieces of spent missiles, malfunctioning satellites and debris from military displays of anti-satellite missiles. The debris is highly concentrated in areas of the orbit closest to the Earth’s surface.
Although debris does not pose a great threat to humans on Earth, it affects a large number of active satellites that provide services such as weather tracking, Earth’s climate study and communications, and debris also threatens the International Space Station.
“Just a few years ago, we had about 1,000 satellites in orbit, and now we have more than 4,000 satellites,” McDowell said.
It is possible for anyone on earth to track the movement of the wreckage of the Chinese “CZ-5B R / B” missile, which has been out of control since last week, according to the English “Express” website.
To compound the problem, experts and space scientists do not have an accurate map of the debris orbiting the Earth. Potential collisions are tracked with sensors to try to locate exactly where everything is, but the process involves a lot of “guesswork”.
Asked what precautions people should take, McDowell said, “No need, because the risk of damage or debris infecting people is very small.” “It can’t be neglected, and it can happen, but there are much bigger things to worry about,” he added.