Fun_People Archive
24 Aug
There's a bad moon on the rise.

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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Mon, 24 Aug 98 12:18:49 -0700
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Subject: There's a bad moon on the rise.

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	A New Moon Rises Over the Northern Skies

David Nerlich reports on Russian plans to launch what will appear to be a
second moon in orbit over European and American cities in November.

The Space Regatta Consortium, a group of companies led by Energia of Korolev
near Moscow, arose from a project to organize a race from the Earth to the
Moon with solar sails, craft driven purely by the impact of photons on
reflective sheeting. Despite being craftily timed to coincide with the 500th
Anniversary of Columbus' discovery of America, funding failed to
materialise. However, undaunted, the intrepid lateral thinking sailors
diverted their pioneering spirit into shining light into the darkness,
presumably for those penny-pinchers who had originally failed to see it.

Bigger and faster and brighter than your average moon, a reflective Mylar
disc will unfurl from Mir on November 9 and whiz around the northern
hemisphere more than twice an hour spotlighting strategic cities such as
London, Seattle, Franfurt and Moscow - although a previous experiment with
a 60 ft wide space mirror in 1993 was hampered by cloud. After an estimated
16 orbits some will be lucky enough to watch the new moon impact and burn
up in the atmosphere.

Not eveyone is pleasantly blinded by the light however. What are the
implications for nocturnal animals, goths, nude surfers? Most vocal are
astronomers, fearing further loss of visibility to the night sky than is
already caused by the full moon, the consortium's long term vision of
launching hundreds of such mirrors to abolish the arctic night threatening
to turn the night sky into some kind of celestial mega disco. There are also
fears of melting icecaps and other ecological disturbances.

The main goal of the Space Regatta Consortium remains to develop and promote
solar sailing, solar reflectors, all spacecraft based on large deployable

Live the dream yourself on the java simulator - choose a craft and sail to
the heavenly body of your choice:

The Space Regatta Consortium

A Solar Sails Home Page can be found at:

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