Chinese have lost control of space station — it will reenter the Earth's atmosphere in weeks

If you were hoping that a person you detest will get hit by a piece of the out-of-control Chinese space station when it crashes to Earth the in the next few weeks, I have bad news: The European Space Agency (ESA) says the "average American citizen is around ten times more likely to win the Powerball lottery than they are to be struck by a piece of the Tiangong-1 as it plummets back to earth."


There has only ever been one confirmed report of a person being struck by a piece of debris that fell from space in history: Lottie Williams, who was hit by a piece of a defunct NASA satellite as she walked through a park in Oklahoma in 1997. Despite holding what may be that singular distinction, William's recollection of the incident may assuage any fears people may have about the Chinese space station's reentry.

"We were still walking through the park when I felt a tapping on my shoulder," Williams told reporters. That tapping was actually debris that had survived reentry and made it all the way from orbit to her walking path. "The weight was comparable to an empty soda can," Williams went on. "It looked like a piece of fabric except when you tap it, it sounded metallic."