Astronomers, another artificial star to ruin your data is coming


EXCERPT: . . . The diamond structure will reflect sunlight, making it bright enough to be seen with the naked eye (as bright as the Big Dipper) for several weeks. At that point, the Orbital Reflector will re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere and burn up. So far, [Trevor] Paglen and his partners have raised about 60% of the project’s overall budget of $1.3 million. To raise the final $70,000 they need, he has launched a crowdfunding campaign with Kickstarter. Ultimately, Paglen hopes that his work of art will draw attention to space and all the activities taking place up there. This includes the satellites that are essential to navigation, telecommunications, transportation, and defense. In addition, there is also the essential monitoring and cutting-edge research being performed by Earth observation satellites, CubeSats, and astronauts aboard the ISS.

[...] This project calls to mind the Humanity Star, an artificial satellite launched into space earlier this year by the New Zealand-based aerospace company Rocket Lab. At the behest of the company’s founder (Peter Beck), this reflective geodesic sphere was placed in LEO to inspire the world about the future of space exploration and foster a sense of unity between people and nations. [...] In short, the Orbital Reflector is the latest in a series of recent attempts to draw attention to the future of space exploration and its importance for humanity. It also showcases how the modern space age is increasingly becoming part of the public domain, with commercial launchers and private citizens participating like never before....


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