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The Insane Plan to "Brighten" the Moon to Save Energy on Lighting at Night
Skincare company Foreo has an illuminating idea for saving energy: just increase the moon’s reflectivity to make the night sky brighter. Think of all the electricity savings if we didn’t have to power streetlights and houselights at night. The presumably tongue-in-cheek idea (the company sells a face-cleaning brush called LUNA) proposes coating part of the moon in a reflective surface in order to increase the amount of light it reflects back to the Earth at night.
According to the company, some nations spend up to 40% of their energy costs on running streetlights and Europe spends $13 billion a year alone on lighting its streets. But the moon is woefully inadequate as an illuminator, with a reflection rate of a measly 0.12, meaning that it only reflects 12% of the sun’s rays. If we just shined up .1% of the moon’s surface, days could be longer and nights would be brighter, allowing the planet to collectively dim the lights at night. The company proposes a 30-year weaning period so that all of the life on the planet could adjust to the change.
The company doesn’t address a host of issues, like the fact that thirty years is not nearly enough for animals to evolve and that light at night messes with everything from animal migration patterns to human health. Popular Science even got in on the fun with an article that examines the consequences of a brighter moon. But whether the idea is satire on alternative energy or group funding campaigns or just a way to promote their face brush, it makes for a pretty entertaining read, and who knows? Maybe it will spark an idea that could make a real impact on CO2 emissions.
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