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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Mir Experiment Will Imitate Moon

The Mir space station will next year create the impression of a second, small moon in the sky during an experiment to improve its navigational system, a space official said Monday.

Sergei Gromov, a spokesman for the Energiya rocket corporation, said a rocket producer had sent Mir an aluminum sheet that would be spread in space to reflect the sun's rays onto Earth. The aim was to improve Mir's navigational system by providing a measure for its distance from Earth and from the sun.

Gromov said the Progress M-40 cargo craft that blasted off from Baikonur Cosmodrome on Sunday would deliver the thin aluminum membrane to the two Russian cosmonauts, who have been in orbit since August.

He said a group of space engineers planned to stand in the reflected rays on the ground, showing they were safe.

"It will not be dangerous for people or nature. ? Snow will not melt, water in lakes will not boil," he said.

Gromov said the experiment's results would be used to help other spacecraft.