Yikes! And in other disaster news, the European Space Agency revealed that a catastrophe of Hollywood summer blockbuster proportions was averted in October, when the German satellite ROSAT could have potentially landed in Beijing on its re-entry.
New calculations show that had the ROSAT x-ray telescope satellite remained aloft for seven more minutes during its re-entry into the earth’s atmosphere, Beijing would have been the site of the satellite’s crash landing.
The satellite weighed 2400kgs (5300 lbs), approximately the same weight as an SUV or Light Duty truck, and reached speeds of up to 448km per hour (280 mph) during its re-entry.
According to the Telegraph:
“Our calculations showed that, if Rosat had crashed to the ground just seven to 10 minutes later, it would have hit Beijing,” Heiner Klinkrad, head of the agency’s space debris team, told German magazine Der Spiegel, adding that an impact on the city “was very much within the realm of possibility.”
60 percent of the ROSAT satellite eventually landed safely in the Indian Ocean, thereby averting what would’ve been the “worst disaster in the history of space exploration”. We’re pretty sure that had the unthinkable occurred, it would’ve certainly qualified as the worst “Bad China Day” ever.
What is a Beijinger to do? If it isn’t the carcinogenic smog, it’s nuclear meltdowns and satellites falling from the sky. The government obviously needs to consider constructing a giant diaphragm-shaped dome sturdy enough to shield Beijing from any future harm. We recommend The Simpsons Movie for inspiration.