NASA on Sunday issued a scathing criticism of China’s rogue space rocket that had been hurtling towards Earth before finally plummeting into the ocean on Saturday night near the Maldives. “Spacefaring nations must minimize the risks to people and property on Earth of re-entries of space objects and maximize transparency regarding those operations,” NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said in a statement posted on the NASA website. “China is failing to meet responsible standards regarding their space debris.”
Space-Track.org, which had been monitoring the rocket, announced shortly after 11 p.m. Eastern time that everybody could “relax,” as the Long March 5B rocket was thought to have landed somewhere in the Indian Ocean. Astrophysicists had been keeping an eye on the rocket for weeks, and despite reassurances that it was probably not a threat to any populated areas, many feared the worst ahead of the rocket's predicted arrival this weekend. “The risk that there will be some damage or that it would hit someone is pretty small—not negligible, it could happen—but the risk that it will hit you is incredibly tiny,” Jonathan McDowell, an astrophysicist at Harvard University, told CNN. McDowell also explained that the rocket's incredible speed made it nearly impossible to estimate its landing location. “The thing is traveling at like 18,000 miles an hour. And so if you're an hour out at guessing when it comes down, you're 18,000 miles out in saying where,” McDowell said.