A privately owned spaceflight company has angered scientists within the space community for sending their first orbital payload called Humanity Star into space. The company says the payload was made to look like a shooting star, but scientists feel it’s more like “space garbage” or “space graffiti.”
The Humanity Star is the product of Rocket Lab, a New Zealand company. It is a 65-faced carbon fiber ball that will circle the world for nine months before it deteriorates as it re-enters earth’s atmosphere.
The goal of Humanity Star is simple — to get people to look up to the stars at night. This manmade star can be seen from earth with the naked eye. Astronomer Eric Mamajek thinks the idea of promoting “awe and peace” from a shiny object in space is wishful thinking.
According to the Washington Post, the carbon fiber ball will be most noticeable during dusk and nightfall. Rocket Lab says it will look like a “bright flashing shooting star.”
Not everyone has been thrilled with Humanity Star. Those within the space industry have taken serious issue with it for various reasons. Many claim it’s “space garbage” and is further crowding an already overcrowded environment.
The Guardian reported that India is also intending to send 104 small satellites into space from a rocket ship. This would only add to the seemingly never-ending abundance of satellites and other materials in the space surrounding the earth.
Rocket Lab’s website wants people to withhold their doubt and just “Wait for when the Humanity Star is overhead and take your loved ones outside to look up and reflect. You may just feel a connection to the more than seven billion other people on this planet we share this ride with.”
The object was sent up into earth’s atmosphere earlier this month. It will be interesting to see if the project does anything to further world peace.