POLITICS + GOVERNMENT

Utah could possibly be in path of debris from Chinese rocket

Jul 29, 2022, 8:00 PM | Updated: Aug 3, 2022, 12:01 pm
fallen rocket...
This is a screenshot of the Chinese satellite that was recently sent into space. The rocket that took it to space is expected to fall back to earth sometime this weekend. Utah could be in the path of debris from the rocket as it descends back to earth. Credit: Heavens-above.com

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah could potentially be in the path of debris from a Chinese rocket that is expected to reenter the earth’s atmosphere this weekend.

According to Patrick Wiggins, a NASA ambassador to Utah, over the next 36 hours the rocket will pass over the skies of Utah five times.

“Could it actually decide during one of those passes to fall onto the ground?” he said to KSL NewsRadio. “Don’t know.”

Wiggins says China launched the rocket a few days ago carrying a satellite. Instead of directing the rocket to a body of water, Wiggins says the Chinese scientists decided to let the rocket to do its own thing. 

“It will come down wherever it feels like coming down,” he said. “And at this point, honestly, we don’t know where it’s going to come down. We’ve got a pretty good idea of where it is in space at the moment.”

Wiggins says experts likely won’t know until about a beforehand when the rocket is going to reenter the earth’s atmosphere. 

How big is the Chinese rocket?

He says the rocket is 25 tons in mass and is as tall as five-story building.

However, Wiggins says there’s not much to be concerned about.

“Most of it is going to burn up as it reenters,” he said. “The question is will any sizable chunks survive reentry and actually make it to the ground? That, again, we don’t know.”

While Wiggins doesn’t have any substantial proof, he thinks the rocket will ultimately either fall into a body of water or onto an uninhabited piece of land.

As of Friday evening, this was the most updated information on where the rocket was at.

 

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