Does your home insurance cover damage caused by...space junk!?
China is under fire from Nasa ( National Aeronautics and Space Administration) after debris from one of its rockets crashed into the Indian Ocean close to the Maldives on Saturday night.
The out-of-control rocket, which was launched on 29 April and weighs about 20 000 kilograms, had launched a piece of a new Chinese space station, but was then left to hurtle through space.
The US Space Agency subsequently issued a statement accusing China of 'failing to meet responsible standards regarding their space debris'.
While NASA administrator Bill Nelson added, “Spacefaring nations must minimize the risks to people and property on Earth of re-entries of space objects and maximize transparency regarding those operations."
Speaking to Cape Talk's Lester Kiewit, Dr Pieter Kotze says Nasa has specific radars which track space debris, but in this instance parts of the rocket had begun 'tumbling' making its re-entry to the earth's atmosphere unpredictable.
You don't know when it's going to enter, you don't know where it's going to enter...Dr Pieter Kotze, Centre for Space Research - North-West University
It was only about five hours before the time that they had a rough idea where it would fall.Dr Pieter Kotze, Centre for Space Research - North-West University
Luckily, the debris from the Chinese rocket is believed to have plunged into the sea, but Kotze admits it could have been a different story altogether had the debris fallen on land.
People who launch these satellites should take responsibility for their actions, but space law is notoriously complex.Dr Pieter Kotze, Centre for Space Research - North-West University
Kotze says it is very difficult for injured parties to recover for their damages.
Current space laws do not really address issues and liabilities relating to space debris.Dr Pieter Kotze, Centre for Space Research - North-West University
Listen to the full conversation below:
Source : @SpaceX/Twitter