A disco ball-like satellite is orbiting Earth; here's why

Posted at 8:28 PM, Jan 25, 2018

The universe has some added sparkle -- now that a shiny, spherical satellite is traveling around our planet.

The newly launched satellite, dubbed the Humanity Star, resembles a disco ball. Its mission: to serve as a focal point for humanity and reminder about our fragile place in the universe.

"No matter where you are in the world, or what is happening in your life, everyone will be able to see the Humanity Star in the night sky," said Peter Beck, founder of the private company Rocket Lab, in a statement.

"My hope is that all those looking up at it will look past it to the vast expanse of the universe and think a little differently about their lives, actions and what is important for humanity."

The satellite is made from carbon fiber and has 65 reflective panels that reflect sunlight back to Earth. The Humanity Star spins rapidly, creating a blinking flashing effect.

So when you look up into the night's sky and see something flashing light, don't panic -- it's not aliens, at least we hope not.

The Humanity Star launched on Sunday from New Zealand and orbits the Earth every 90 minutes. It will continue for the next nine months before it starts to decay and is pulled back into Earth's gravity, ultimately burning up on reentry.

While it's not yet visible in the US, you can track in real-time the location of the satellite on a website.