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A Long March 2F rocket carrying Tiangong-1 lifts off from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center. Photo: Lintao Zhang / Getty Images

Chinese space station Tiangong-1, will fall to Earth on April 1, later than expected, because of the weaker sun activity, Space.com reports.

What happened: Per Space.com, the sun's activity results in "charged particles" that hit Earth's atmosphere. The particles can increase gas density in space, which impacts the drag on the space station. Because the sun's activity has been weak, there have been fewer particles, and therefore weaker drag, which will make Tiangong-1 "descend more slowly than expected."

  • Jonathan McDowell, astrophysicist at Harvard University, told Live Science (sister site of Space.com) that "[f]ireballs are almost certain" as the space station falls, though he predicts "only 220 to 440 lbs...of debris" will hit Earth.
  • Per Space.com, Tiangong-1 "was the first Chinese space station."

Go deeper

Tech digs in for long domestic terror fight

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

With domestic extremist networks scrambling to regroup online, experts fear the next attack could come from a radicalized individual — much harder than coordinated mass events for law enforcement and platforms to detect or deter.

The big picture: Companies like Facebook and Twitter stepped up enforcement and their conversations with law enforcement ahead of Inauguration Day. But they'll be tested as the threat rises that impatient lone-wolf attackers will lash out.

The pandemic could be worsening childhood obesity

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The 10-month long school closures and the coronavirus pandemic are expected to have a big impact on childhood obesity rates.

Why it matters: About one in five children are obese in the U.S. — an all-time high — with worsening obesity rates across income and racial and ethnic groups, data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey show.

Dave Lawler, author of World
47 mins ago - World

Biden's Russia challenge

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The Biden administration has already proposed a five-year extension of the last treaty constraining the U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals, announced an urgent investigation into a massive Russia-linked cyberattack, and demanded the release of Russia’s leading opposition figure, Alexey Navalny.

Why it matters: Those three steps in Biden's first week underscore the challenge he faces from Vladimir Putin — an authoritarian intent on weakening the U.S. and its alliances, with whom he’ll nonetheless have to engage on critical issues.