With China's Tiangong-1 space station (translated as "Heavenly Palace") full of highly toxic chemicals such as hydrazine, set to crash into the earth at a still unknown location some time today, Michigan isn't taking any chances.
As a reminder, several weeks ago Aerospace.org predicted that while the list of possible crash sites includes locations in Northern China, South America, Southern Africa, Northern Spain and the United States, lower Michigan in particular is among the regions with the highest probability of a direct hit.
Fast forward to today when in advance of Tiangong's atmospheric reentry, sometime between now and April 2, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has activated the state's Emergency Operations Center today to monitor its travels.
According to the Detroit Free Press, and as noted previously, pieces of the 8.5 ton space station have the potential to land in the southern Lower Peninsula of Michigan, according to the Aerospace Corporation. Still , while the possibility that space debris could land in Michigan looms, the odds of it actually happening are miniscule.
"When considering the worst-case location ... the probability that a specific person (i.e., you) will be struck by Tiangong-1 debris is about 1 million times smaller than the odds of winning the Powerball jackpot," according to Aerospace, a government contractor that provides research, development, and advisory services to national-security space programs.
In any event, Michigan's Emergency Operations Center urges anyone who suspects they have encountered debris from the space station to call 911 and stay at least 150 feet away from it.
In a follow up article we will present readers with several options on how to track the space station's trajectory in real time.