CLEVELAND– The ill-fated Chinese space station is no longer expected to fall to the earth this weekend.
Cleveland State research astronomer Jay Jay Reynolds told Fox 8 it’s actually because of the sun.
“Actually, it is our sun’s fault. Solar activity has been weaker than anticipated, so it has not disrupted our atmospheric layer,” Reynolds said.
Tiangong-1 was expected to re-enter Earth’s atmosphere between March 31 and April 1, according to estimates from the European Space Agency.
The 40-foot space lab will fly over our area about five times over 36 hours, Reynolds said. If it survives until Sunday morning, Ohioans may get to see it pass over directly.
The space station’s path could change.
“I’ve been tracking objects for 16 years, never seen orbital changes like these,” Reynolds said.
The odds of being hit by falling debris are extremely slim: one in 1 trillion. Tiangong-1, which is about the size of a school bus, is likely to burn up during reentry.
“It won’t crash to the Earth fiercely, as in sci-fi movie scenarios, but will look more like a shower of meteors,” China Manned Space Engineering Office said in a news release.
In Michigan, officials activated the state’s Emergency Operations Center to monitor reentry.
“While the chances are slim that any of the debris will land in Michigan, we are monitoring the situation and are prepared to respond quickly if it does,” said Capt. Chris A. Kelenske, deputy director of Emergency Management and Homeland Security and commander of the Michigan State Police.