: In the 1990s Soviet space scientist Vladimir Syromyatnikov devised a giant space mirror to reflect sunlight back to Earth and extend the workday. The effort was particularly appealing for northern regions, where days are extremely short in the winter. In this article for Motherboard
, Brian Merchant describes Syromyatnikov's extensive work on the Znamya project. Although Znamya 2
launched in 1992 and successfully deployed its 20-meter test mirror, the next attempt failed and the project was eventually scrapped. Now the idea is once again being taken up, this time to beam solar power back to Earth. Both the US Naval Research Laboratory and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency are developing plans for orbital solar power plants to be launched within the decade.