Thanks to our Earth’s atmosphere, a lot of space junk and meteors burn up during entry, thus protecting the rest of us from any real major damage. However, sometimes things don’t always go to plan, such as the case when part of a Chinese rocket re-entered our atmosphere and did not burn up completely.
This has resulted in the largest piece of space junk to have crashed back to Earth in decades. This was part of a Long March 5B rocket that launched a prototype crew capsule designed to resemble a SpaceX Crew Dragon. This rocket was meant to orbit around the Earth for a week as part of a test.
However, when the core stage of the rocket re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere, it did not burn up completely and according to the US military, they have predicted that it crashed down into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of West Africa. Thankfully, there doesn’t seem to have been any reports of this debris injuring anyone or causing damage as for the most part, a lot of space junk tends to fall into the ocean.
According to Jonathan McDowell, a Harvard astrophysicist, “It is the most massive object to make an uncontrolled reentry since the 39-tonne Salyut-7 in 1991.”