Experts predict that a Chinese space station currently tumbling toward Earth will make its crash landing on Easter Sunday, but they are not sure where.
According to Space.com, experts from Aerospace Corp. estimate the Tiangong-1 space station will crash anytime between March 31 to April 1, with most predicting it to fall around 10 a.m. EDT on April 1, Easter Sunday.
“That April 1 target comes with an error of 16 hours, so the spacecraft could potentially begin its fiery death dive anytime between Saturday and Sunday afternoon,” according to Space.com.
Scientists remain unsure about where the space station will land, though.
The space station is too big — it weighs 9.4 tons and is about the size of a school bus, according to USA Today — to predict where the atmosphere could drag it.
"It is tumbling," Roger Thompson, a senior engineering specialist with Aerospace Corp., told reporters on Wednesday. "We have been able to confirm that there is a tumble, we just can't tell the orientation."
The European Space Agency said in a statement that it won’t predict a precise time or place for the station's fall, either.
However, this isn’t a reason to fret. According to Live Science, “the Earth is very big and still mostly pretty empty, and the station is very small in the scheme of things. And the odds of getting hit by a piece of the space lab that manages to survive the fiery re-entry into our atmosphere are incredibly low.”3 comments on this story
The Tiangong-1 first launched in 2011 and survived longer in space than its original two-year lifespan, according to Mashable.
Senior Chinese officials said in 2016 that they had lost control of the space station, which, they predicted, would fall in the second half of 2017.
At the time, Harvard astrophysicists told The Guardian that “the debris wouldn't do widespread harm but a large piece could seriously damage a property, or if it landed in a crowded city,” Mashable reported.
Despite the space station's hiccups, China’s space program launched a Tiangong-2 space lab back in September 2016, CNN reported.