The bright streaks in the night sky might actually be glowing rocket parts. Moreover, as new research indicates, few of those brilliant rocket parts could be headed toward us.
Scientists explain that there’s an increasing likelihood that raining rocket parts can cause injury or damage to people living on Earth. However, it’s still doubtful that one will receive a rocket fuselage to the face while climbing up the stairs; researchers are asking the world’s spacefaring nations to keep in mind the controlled reentries for ship components left floating in low-Earth orbit.
In a Nature Communications paper, Canada-based researchers announced that “there’s a 10% chance of one or more casualties from falling rocket parts in the next decade based on data extrapolated from publicly released reports”. The immense possibility that these rocket parts will possibly land in the global south implies that most spacefaring nations and private companies are effectively “exporting risk to the rest of the world,” particularly the southern part of the globe, as the scientists explain in their study.
Previous research indicates that less than 50% of the Earth that isn’t always covered in ice has remained somewhat uninhabited and untouched by humans. However, as the new research indicates, there’s still a chance that parts of rockets can slam into populated centers. The team considered data on average orbit angles and population statistics at various latitudes to demonstrate a curve in the likelihood for parts to wreck at locations with at least some human habitation.