Down a lonely stretch of Sonoran desert highway
south of Tucson, Ariz., lies the washboarded pull-off
for Interstellar Light Applications. Visitors don’t have
to wait for the dust to settle to lay eyes on ILA’s majestic moonlight collector, towering 6 stories high and
60 feet across, and weighing in at a healthy 25 tons.
Science enthusiast Richard Chapin conceived of
the collector when a close friend was faced with a
terminal illness. Chapin was intrigued by research
on full-spectrum light therapy, which had been conducted mostly using artificial light sources.
Photograph by David Olsen
Chapin wondered if the unique spectrum of
moonlight might have been overlooked. The sublime
lunar glow carries slightly different frequencies than
sunlight, with more reds and yellows. It’s no secret
that moonlight is essential to a variety of life forms
on Earth, but could it be used to aid the ailing?
Chapin collaborated with a crew of passionate
engineers, telescope makers, and astronomers to
design the collector. Comprised of 84 mirrored
panels, each 4 feet by 8 feet, the “non-imaging
optical array” is parabolic, hydraulic, and rotates 360
degrees with a mere 5hp motor. To weather the harsh
desert conditions, the panels are made of a unique
sandwich construction, with materials like aluminum
honeycomb chosen for lightness, rigidity, and stability.
The collector is steered with amazing precision;
the light can be focused on an area as small as 1mm
or as large as 10 feet across. Due to the high volume
of visitors, folks are allotted only a few minutes in its
light, longer for those with serious illnesses.
Richard and his wife, Monica Chapin, are focused
on promoting research and gaining scientific backing.
They’ve worked with University of Arizona geoscien-tists who documented molecular changes in quartz
crystals exposed to the collector for 45 minutes.
Believers abound, as witnessed by the exuberance of visitors and the testimonials on the ILA
website. On any given full moon, folks from far and
wide make the pilgrimage, hopeful that a solution
could really be that simple, natural, and abundant.
>>Interstellar Light Applications: starlightuses.com