Michigan remains safe from toxic debris…at least from outer space.
We recently reported that an out-of-control Chinese space station with ‘highly toxic’ chemicals onboard was hurtling toward Earth. There was speculation that it might crash into lower Michigan during the first week in April.
It turns out that the actual crash occurred far from the Great Lakes region.
China’s Tiangong-1 space module has re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere and broken up over the South Pacific.
The “vast majority” of the defunct space lab burnt up on re-entry, which occurred at 1.15am UK time, China’s Manned Space Engineering Office said.
It had originally said that the space station was expected to re-enter off the coast of Brazil in the South Atlantic, near the cities of Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.
The US Joint Force Space Component Command (JFSCC) also confirmed the spacecraft had re-entered the atmosphere over the southern Pacific after coordinating with counterparts in the UK, Europe, Asia and Australia.
I caught earlier reports that it might be descending today, and told family members in Michigan to watch out for a light show. It turns out that there wasn’t much of a spectacle to observe after all.
Jonathan McDowell, an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, said the module zoomed over Pyongyang and the Japanese city of Kyoto during daylight hours, reducing the odds of seeing it before it hit the Pacific.
‘It would have been fun for people to see it, but there will be other reentries,’ McDowell told AFP. ‘The good thing is that it doesn’t cause any damage when it comes down and that’s what we like.’
And while a sky show would have been thrilling for Michigan residents, they were already treated to one earlier this January.
…Not long after the the National Weather Service confirmed the phenomenon wasn’t weather-related, NASA confirmed that it was a meteor with a trajectory northwest of Detroit, from Brighton to Howell.
People reported seeing the fireball from across Michigan, and even from other states, including Illinois, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Missouri and Ontario, Canada. Multiple images were posted of night skies being lit up, as social media exploded with people reporting what they saw or heard.
NASA estimates a 2-yard-diameter meteor traveled at about 28,000 mph as it arrived -– which is considered very slow. For comparison, Leonid meteors that arrive each November are much smaller and move at 160,000 m.p.h., said Bill Cooke, lead for NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office in Huntsville, Ala.
“So this one was on the slow side, which is one reason why it made it so deep into the atmosphere,” he said.
Meanwhile, it appears that Michigan’s citizens are safe from toxic debris….at least from the Chinese space station.
State taxpayers will be on the hook for the clean up of old barrels holding toxic chemicals as well as contaminated soil discovered along the Detroit River at the site of the former Chrysler Corp. Trenton Chemical Plant, officials say.
Contractors were doing construction for the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge Welcome Center when they found the barrels last year. The refuge includes nearly 6,000 acres along 48 miles of the lower Detroit River and western Lake Erie.
Now the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, along with the Environmental Protection Agency, will be responsible for covering the cost of removing the polluted materials, said Keith Owens, a spokesman for Wayne County.
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