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The “Humanity Star”

25 Jan 2018, 15:16 UTC
The “Humanity Star”
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Yesterday a small, private New Zealand-based company that recently launched a rocket into space and deployed several small satellites into orbit, revealed that one of those “satellites” was a project called “The Humanity Star“, a 1m across ball covered in highly-reflective triangles of material. The purpose of this “space disco ball” – which the company says will look like a “shooting star” in the sky, flashing as it goes, and was inspired by the flares produced by Iridium satellites – is to get people looking up at the night sky, to inspire them, to make them contemplate their place in the universe, and it has created a lot of interest online. Some are for it, most very much against it.

Me? I have very mixed feelings about this.

As someone heavily involved in astronomy outreach and education I spend a lot of what I laughingly call my “free time” encouraging people to get up off their sofas, go outside and look up at the beauty to be seen in the night sky. And at first glance this “star” would appear to help with that, just as the bright “flares” from Iridium satellites do. Like many people I have enjoyed ...

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