Ice the Moon

The new, improved solar system, 1

It may come as a shock to you, but the albedo, or reflective brightness, of the Earth’s Moon is 0.12, which is very, very dark, about as dark as this: █

Much like a goth caught in the beam of a powerful searchlight, it only seems bright to us because it is reflecting the Sun’s rays against the even deeper black of Space Itself.

And because we’re used to it. Used to a dowdy, dim, low-wattage Moon, a lump of dusty black rock which is barely bright enough to prevent us stumbling drunkenly over tent-ropes and falling into campfires at night.

Saturn’s moon Enceladus, by contrast, has an albedo of 99%. Think of how bright that would be, if it were not languishing in the backwaters of the solar system.

I’m not proposing to move Enceladus into the Moon’s orbit: that would be ridiculously expensive. All we need to do is spray-coat the Moon in something white and powdery. Think of the gloriously warm, moonlit nights we would enjoy, basking in the rays of a highly-reflective and fully solar-powered Moon.

(Of course, the term ‘ice’ here does not refer to actual frozen water, which would probably melt. In astronomy ‘ice’ has a special technical sense, and refers to any form of sugared frosting.)

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3 responses to “Ice the Moon

  1. Hmm, from iced cup cakes to iced moon? Martha Stewart has her work cut out for her.

  2. Sorry, Donna Hay. Move over, Martha Stewart. No room for jailbirds here.

  3. Martha is definitely not getting this gig because she wanted to put the Moon in a wicker basket.

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