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‘Hanging in the balance’: Giant piece of space junk hurtling towards Earth

Ross and Russel
Article image for ‘Hanging in the balance’: Giant piece of space junk hurtling towards Earth

A 20 tonne piece of space junk is hurtling towards Earth and is expected to make an uncontrolled re-entry to the planet in the next few days.

The debris is a rocket booster from China’s Long March 5B, which took the first module of China’s new space station to orbit last month.

While most of the junk is likely to burn up before reaching Earth, some pieces may remain, and they could land almost anywhere.

“We do know it’s going to be between +42 latitude and -42 latitude, so it’s like (between) Copenhagen … and Tasmania,” astronomer at the Australian National University, Dr Brad Tucker, told Ross and Russel.

Dr Tucker said it’s “frustrating” that there’s no plan for the re-entry of the debris.

“We’ve been knowing that this space junk is an issue,” he said.

“We need a plan on when our stuff comes down, and most of these times we do have a de-orbiting plan.

“Some countries still don’t plan that and then you’re … kind of just left hanging in the balance, quite literally in this case.”

Press PLAY below to hear whether Dr Tucker thinks we should be concerned

Ross and Russel
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