Expert: Chance of Chinese space station falling in Mich. is possible

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A Chinese space station will come crashing down to earth soon. scientists can't seem to agree on where exactly it's going to fall.

Some believe pieces of the giant satellite Tiangong-1 will actually land here in Michigan.  

"(The space station) will reenter the atmosphere and most of it will break up, some parts will land down on the surface of the earth," said Aaron Ridley, University of Michigan professor.

The Chinese National Space Administration lost contact with the space station nearly two years ago. Soon it will return to earth, chaotically.

"This one is pretty big, it is probably about the size of a school bus," said Ridley. "It will reenter the atmosphere sometime between the end of March and early April of this year. 

The 34-foot by 11-foot vessel will likely burn up entirely as it reenters Earth's atmosphere. The odds of it landing in Michigan are extremely small. but they aren't zero. 

"Basically a satellite orbit is like a hula hoop, and you can put the hula hoop across the world and the satellites go around like this," Ridley said. "Michigan is only pointed towards the tip top of that hula hoop once per day.

"Really, we would have to get super unlucky."

But if it does land in Michigan, what will it be like?

"If you remember a few weeks ago, there was a meteorite that came down over Brighton, Michigan and that was a pretty big object," Ridley said. "It caused a big explosion, and a bright flash of light and everything. People saw it from many, many miles away and it didn't hit anybody, it didn't cause any damage. 

"So the likely scenario is that the same exact thing would happen."