A Star For Humanity
Visible with the naked eye, the Humanity Star is a highly reflective satellite that blinks brightly across the night sky to create a shared experience for everyone on the planet.
Created by Rocket Lab founder and CEO Peter Beck, the Humanity Star is a geodesic sphere made from carbon fibre with 76 highly reflective panels. It spins rapidly, reflecting the sun’s rays back to Earth, creating a flashing light that can be seen against a backdrop of stars.
Orbiting the Earth every 90 minutes and visible from anywhere on the globe, the Humanity Star is designed to be a bright symbol and reminder to all on Earth about our fragile place in the universe.
Humanity Star Update
"On March 2018, The Humanity Star began its final descent into the Earth’s atmosphere where it burnt up on reentry, leaving no trace
Launched on 21 January 2018 NZT, The Humanity Star was designed to be a temporary symbol in the night sky that encouraged everyone to look up, ponder humanity’s place in the universe and think about how we can work together as one species to solve the challenges facing us all.
During its time in space, the Humanity Star orbited the Earth every 90 minutes and could be seen from around the world as a brief, glinting light in the dawn, dusk and night sky.
The Humanity Star was designed to appear slightly brighter than the stars alongside it and reflect the sun’s rays just long enough to draw people’s eyes skyward and leave them looking at the night sky long after the satellite has passed.
My hope was to encourage people to linger looking at the stars and ponder our place in the universe. While many people are already keen observers of the cosmos, thousands more have now spent time searching, watching and pondering what it means to be one species on a tiny globe in the middle of a vast universe. Thank you to the thousands of people who shared their stories of experiencing it with friends and loved ones, and also to those who sent photos and videos of Humanity Star passes.
While the Humanity Star was a brief moment in human history, I hope the conversations and ideas it sparked around the world will continue to be explored. These are the conversations that will play a part in shaping how we collectively manage our planet and work together to solve the challenges facing us all."
How does it work?
The Humanity Star is a geodesic sphere is made from carbon fibre with 76 highly reflective panels. The sphere spins rapidly, briefly reflecting the sun’s light back to Earth to create a fleeting moment of light.
When will it deorbit?
The exact moment of re-entry is challenging to predict. Based on the current rate at which its altitude is dropping, the Humanity Star is predicted to re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere on Thursday, 22 Mar 2018 UTC.
Why will it deorbit?
The Humanity Star was designed to have a brief orbital lifespan. It was placed into a low perigee elliptical orbit of 300 x 500 km, where its altitude dropped with every pass at perigee. This, combined with a low surface to mass area, meant the Humanity Star experienced significant atmospheric drag, pulling it back into the Earth’s atmosphere in a matter of weeks.
How big is the Humanity Star?
The Humanity Star is 1m high (3.2 ft.), and weighs around 10.34 kg (22.7 lbs).
How bright will it be?
For a brief moment, The Humanity Star will be slightly brighter than the stars alongside it. The light from passing aircraft will be more obvious and significantly more frequent than The Humanity Star.
Will you put another Humanity Star up when this one de-orbits?
No. The Humanity Star is designed to be a one-time, short-term experience. The intention was always to draw more people to the night sky, perhaps those who may not otherwise be looking.
Why did you create the Humanity Star?
The Humanity Star is designed to be a symbol in the night sky that encourages everyone to look up and ponder humanity’s place within the universe.
It was created to encourage people to look up and past terrestrial life to consider our position as one species on a small planet in a vast universe. It will hopefully encourage conversation about the collective challenges we are all facing that can only be solved by thinking and working as one species. The hope is that as people watch for it they will linger looking at the night sky. The intention was always to draw more people to the night sky, perhaps those who may not otherwise be looking.
When was it launched?
The Humanity Star was launched on 21 January 2018 NZT.
Will the Humanity Star impact my view of the night sky?
The Humanity Star will create fleeting glint of light across the sky, lasting just a few seconds as it reflects sunlight back to the Earth’s surface. The Humanity Star will be most visible at dawn and dusk, generally just above the horizon. It is designed to briefly catch people’s eyes, drawing their gaze to the stars and universe beyond The Humanity Star, leaving them looking at the night sky long after the satellite has passed.