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Don’t worry — we aren’t besieged by friendly marsupials from outer space. Professors and students from Melbourne’s Monash University in Australia just decided to help NASA out by creating a 105-foot-long kangaroo made out of white cardboard. This white cutout reflected sun back into space, which was then measured by two satellites flying overhead.
This massive marsupial will help NASA scientists determine exactly how much of the sun’s light is reflected back into space. Traditionally, the large white spaces of the Earth — like the polar ice caps — reflect a large portion of the sun’s light and heat back into space. Their rapid secession is thought to contribute to a global rise in temperature.
Several other groups participated in creating reflective squares visible from space, but none of them had the ingenuity to craft them in the shape of a kangaroo.
“We call it our kangaroo from space because two satellites flew over (and) what they were doing was measuring the amount of light reflected from our kangaroo,” Professor Patricia Vickers-Rich told AFP.
“And the point of that was to make people aware that reflected light, or lack of reflected light, has a very big effect on climate.”
“We were supposed to put out a square… and we thought, ‘Well, why don’t we do an animal? Everybody recognizes the kangaroo.”
Runners-up included a giant lizard and a koala, but the kangaroo won. Not to jump to conclusions, but it was probably the right choice.
— Ted Alvarez.
‘Space kangaroo’ shines a light on global warming (AFP)