The “Star of Humanity” is a controversial disco ball in space

The “Star of Humanity” is a controversial disco ball in space

A private company has orbited a satellite believed to be one of the brightest objects in the sky, much to the dismay of some astronomers.

Soon, the stars you're looking for in the sky won't be meteors, but disco balls. Last weekend, the space company Rocket Lab put into orbit what is supposed to be “the brightest object in the sky.” “Star of humanity” (Star of Humanity).

“This is the star of humanity: a bright, flashing satellite orbiting the Earth, visible with the naked eye in the night sky. (…) It is designed to encourage everyone to look and think about your place in the universe, the New Zealand company posted on Twitter on Wednesday.

“Wherever you are on Earth, and no matter what's going on in your life, everyone will be able to see the star in the sky,” Peter Beck, the company's CEO, confirmed in a press release. He continues, “Our hope is that every person who watches it notices the vast expanse of the universe and thinks differently about their lives, their actions, and what is important to humanity.”

What is supposed to allow it to be seen high in the sky are the 65 panels surrounding the ball, which are no more than one meter wide, and which allow sunlight to be reflected. This small satellite is supposed to rotate around itself, always capturing as many rays as possible, He explains the edge.

“Flash on the polar bear”

This launch is the first successful test for the private company, which has put three other commercial satellites into orbit at the same time. On the site Star of humanity, it is possible to follow the path of this space disco ball, which is currently located about 500 kilometers above our heads. It won't stay there all the time: Rocket Lab runs for nine months before it starts losing altitude and ends up plunging into the atmosphere.

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The importance of this initiative is not limited to gaining followers, especially among astronomers who need darkness to best carry out their observations.

“This particular case is not that serious, but the idea of ​​it becoming common, especially on a larger scale, would send astronomers onto the streets,” Richard Easter of the University of Auckland told The Guardian in New Zealand.

Less diplomatically, Caleb Scharf, director of the astrobiology department at Columbia University, said: processing in Scientific American:

“Most of us wouldn't think it would be cute if I stuck a flash on a polar bear, or if I wrote my company logo on Everest. Crowding the sky with a shimmering ball seems so disgusting. It's really a reminder of our fragile place in the universe, because it's invading the very thing that should To cherish it urgently.”

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