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Earth Is Getting Its Own Disco Ball, But Not All Scientists Are Dancing

Shining bright like a diamond.
Peter Beck Humanity Star

Earth is about to get its own disco ball, but not everyone is dancing at the news.

A space exploration startup Rocket Lab launched a rocket from New Zealand last week with a satellite that looks like a giant disco ball. According to the company, it will reflect sunlight from its 65 reflective panels back towards earth and become the brightest object in the sky for its nine month orbit. This will create a flashing light visible from anywhere on Earth.

"My hope is that all those looking up at it will look past it to the vast expanse of the universe and think a little differently about their lives, actions and what is important for humanity,” explains founder Peter Beck in a statement via CNN.

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Not everyone is so enthusiastic about this bright flying disco ball lighting up the night sky.

For those who rely on darkness to see deep into space, this may cause a problem.

Light pollution is a serious concern for many astrophysicists and others who study space. Many large telescopes have to be in remote areas to avoid any light pollution at all. And these places are becoming harder to find.

Director of astrobiology at Columbia University Caleb Scharf wrote in Scientific American, “Jamming a brilliantly glinting sphere into the heavens feels similarly abusive. It’s definitely a reminder of our fragile place in the universe, because it’s infesting the very thing that we urgently need to cherish.”

Maybe instead of putting disco balls in space, let’s go out and dance underneath them more. It will be more fun and do your part to help your local nightlife. Also space is fascinating enough without us putting some shiny metal object in the way. You can track The Humanity Star here.

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