China To Launch Man-Made Moon To Replace Street Lights

Clark Diaz
October 19, 2018

The Southwestern city of Chengdu revealed it would launch its illumination satellite in 2020, which it said was created to emulate moonlight and would be eight times brighter than the real moon.

The company says it will be launching an "illumination satellite" in less than two years, this created to light up the night sky with artificial light 8 times greater than the actual Moon.

The location and brightness of the light beam can be changed, and its coverage accuracy can fall within a few dozen metres, he said.

A Chinese city is exhausted of relying on electricity and the regular old moon to provide lights around town at night.

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The first man-made moon will launch from Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan, with three more to follow in 2022 if the first test goes well, said Wu Chunfeng, head of Tian Fu New Area Science Society, the organisation responsible for the project.

The project is set to be completed in 2020 and, according to the People's Daily, the artificial moon is "designed to complement the moon at night".

The moon orbits the Earth about 380,000 km from the Earth, while the man-made moon is expected to be put on an orbit within 500 km from the Earth, the state-run China Daily reported.

However, Wu stressed that much work still needs to be done, both in terms of scientific feasibility and business models, to tap into the full potential of China's artificial moons.

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There are concerns that the light will affect animal behaviour. The artist imagined a mirrored necklace around the Earth to reflect sunlight onto Paris year-round.

In the 1990s, Russian scientists reportedly used giant mirrors to reflect light from space in an experimental project called Znamya or Banner.

Chengdu's artificial moon has already been met with criticism from skeptics and concerned citizens who argue that the light will have adverse effects on animals and astronomical observation, People's Daily points out.

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