Failed project

Published: Wednesday 31 March 1999

russian scientists' attempt to reflect the Sun's light towards dark areas of the Earth floundered when the giant mirror failed. Astronauts aboard the Russian space station Mir were to bounce sunlight off a 25-metre (82 feet) fabric mirror and direct the rays toward the ground, producing beams up to 10 times brighter than the full Moon.

" As we were unfolding the reflective mirror, another antenna also unfolded, " said Valdamir Solovyov, flight director at the Korolyov Mission Control outside Moscow. It blocked the zone for the mirror to unfold normally, and the mirror was left hanging from the supply ship, said Space officials. They said they would decide whether to continue their efforts before the ship is left to burn up as it returns to the Earth's atmosphere.

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