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While the idea of space mirrors fascinates some, others have wondered about possible environmental effects of interrupting the normal day-night cycle of animals and plants, particularly if the practice became widespread.Even extended daylight would affect the development and behavior of flora and fauna, and might influence local weather.The most ambitious proposal foresees a constellation of 100 reflectors, each 1,300 feet in diameter with a surface area of 30 acres.Initial operational systems, using reflectors 650 feet in diameter, would have 24 to 36 mirrors in northern inclination orbits either 620 miles or 3,700 miles above Earth, proponents say.
The Soyuz will test a new docking system that an American space shuttle will use to hook up with Mir in 1995.If all goes as planned, the Banner payload will be deployed next month to unfurl into a 65-foot-diameter disk of aluminum-coated plastic film.The experiment will test the feasibility of illuminating points on Earth with light equivalent to that of several full moons.But authorities in the space program were skeptical, he said, because the benefits were uncertain."While some people would be happy with light from space, others might not like it," Dr. "In all of the dark areas of the sub-Arctic, people have adapted to the natural cycles they have and may not want it to change."The mirror proposal faces technical hurdles, like developing a pointing system that can keep a spot of light trained on a specific area of the ground as the reflector travels through space at almost 18,000 miles an hour, Dr. But he added that it probably could be made to work."Technically, you could put up a big mirror," he said, "but the issue is finding a use for it."Space mirror proponents say successful tests with Banner and similar future spacecraft will prove the concept and its usefulness.