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Alabama possibly in path of space station crashing toward Earth, experts say

Rendering of Tiangong-1, China's failing space station (MGN)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBMA) - Don't run for cover yet.

Experts say a Chinese space station about a tenth of the size of a football field is about to fall from orbit and crash to the earth.

First off, the chances of someone actually being hit by any debris are pretty far out.

"[The] likelihood is that it will mostly burn up, but some pieces will make it to the earth," said David Weigel, planetarium director at Samford University's Christenberry Planatarium.

Weigel says the Chinese space station was supposed to be de-orbited at some point in a controlled manner.

"[Well], things change and they no longer have control over it," said Weigel.

Translation: scientists don't know exactly where it could fall. But what they do know is its path.

"Alabama is in that very, very much so," said Weigel.

Don't worry, there's a slim chance you or your property will get hit with anything.

"There's always a chance; there's a chance for all sorts of things. You could have a meteorite land on your house too, but that doesn't happen very much either so," said Weigel.

In fact, there's only one recorded instance of a meteorite striking a person.

It happened to a woman inside her Sylacauga, Alabama home in 1954 - and she lived to tell about it.

As far as man-made debris falling from the sky, it's a little easier to predict, though still challenging.

So come late March, early April, keep your eyes on the sky.

"We don't really get very good predictions even until the last few hours. Even with a third of a day left, let's say eight hours, you still have pretty much the entire circumference of the earth it could hit," said Weigel.

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