A couple out in Arizona, Richard and Monica Chapin, have built a moonlight magnifier (or, as they call it, an "interstellar light collector"). Exposure to concentrated lunar rays, they claim, can have all kinds of positive medical benefits. They hope it may even heal cancer. It cost them over $2 million to build the thing. According to their website, starlightuses.com
, here's how the machine works:
The Interstellar Light Collector rotates a full 360 degrees, and can be aligned with the position of the moon to 1/10,000 of an inch in accuracy. With a collection surface of 3,000 square feet, the collected light can be focused into an area as large as 10 by ten feet or as small as 1mm that can pulsated or applied as a laser and transmitted directly into the accompanying research facility.
The Arizona Republic
recently published an article
about this device. They describe in a bit more detail exactly what happens during a therapeutic session:
Visitors receive "moonstones," or rocks purified by sunlight, before they enter the basking zone in twos and threes. They are instructed to soak them with lunar rays for a personally sanctifying energy.
The Chapins don't charge money for this, but they do encourage visitors to make $10 donations and are seeking investors.
I'm willing to accept that light therapy has positive benefits, but I'm skeptical that moonlight has healing powers any different or greater than those of sunlight. Why would it, since it's just reflected sunlight? The Chapins claim that moonlight can't burn us like sunlight (right, because it's a lot less bright) and that moonlight "presents a distinctive spectrum composed of more reds and yellows, and possesses a different frequency than sunlight. This specific light spectrum has never been artificially duplicated." They admit that the healing benefits of moonlight have never been scientifically tested, but they're gathering anecdotal evidence to build their case.
I actually think it would be kind of cool to experience this thing. Would it be possible to get a moon tan? But I wouldn't look on it as anything more than an entertaining novelty, and I wouldn't expect any medical benefits from it beyond those gained from light therapy in general.