Rocket Lab has angered astronomers across the world after putting a glittering disco ball into orbit.
New Zealand’s first-ever successful orbital launch was hailed last week, but on Thursday the company revealed in addition to two mapping satellites, the Electron rocket was carrying a reflective sphere it called the ‘Humanity Star’.
It holds no practical purpose, except to “get people to go outside and look up”, according to Rocket Lab founder Peter Beck.
But people who look up every day for living are outraged, expressing their displeasure with the company’s space junk on social media.
“Intentionally bright long-term space graffiti. Thanks a lot @RocketLab,” astronomer Mike Brown, of the California Institute of Technology, wrote on Twitter.
“Most of us would not think it cute if I stuck a big flashing strobe-light on a polar bear, or emblazoned my company slogan across the perilous upper reaches of Everest,” Columbia University director of astrobiology Caleb Scharf wrote for science magazine Scientific American.
“Jamming a brilliantly glinting sphere into the heavens feels similarly abusive.”
New York University astrophysicist Benjamin Pope called the Humanity Star “short-lived and kind of cool”, but said it would get in the way of real satellites.
Even Kiwi scientists are tut-tutting Rocket Lab.
“This one instance won’t be a big deal but the idea of it becoming commonplace, especially at larger scales, would bring astronomers out into the street,” University of Auckland physicist Richard Easther told The Guardian.
“I can understand the exuberance for this sort of thing but I also get the sense that they did not realise that people could see a downside to it.”
The upside is that Humanity Star will burn up in the atmosphere when its orbit decays, in about nine months’ time.
Yeah, but the aliens did it better. At least according to Spielberg:
What a waste of time and money.
It wasn't a one-off either John. Same thing happened the following day and I actually emailed a friend here about it and I quote part of the email sent.
"Just minutes ago I was checking thru my artworks on redbubble to see what certain ones would look like printed as postcards and as I went to the 'Wild Boy Jimmy' one, said quietly to myself, 'I wonder how this one will lokk' clicked on the icon and the screen as it loaded large view of WBJ just started flickering wildly like flashing lightning and machine gun fire so much so I had to laugh out loud but nothing I did would cut out the 'fireworks' other than rebooting my system..Jeepus!"
Anyone familiar with my 'Wild Boy Jimmy' image will get it straight away.
So some One/Thing is havin a little fun with me or at least Trying to..ME Thinks
Morons. Mind you, I wonder if this is just a distraction from what's really going on.
Could be a case of "look at the pretty disco ball" while the "real" secret payload goes up elsewhere. Misdirection.
Exactly Martin. And/or lightening up their whole operation so's the public don't take it too seriously. Interesting.