Published: Fri, October 19, 2018
Sci-tech | By Eric Barnett

Chinese city wants to launch artificial moon to 'replace streetlights'

Chinese city wants to launch artificial moon to 'replace streetlights'

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.

This bold plan never came to fruition, but as Chinese news outlet The People's Daily reports, an illumination satellite inspired by the idea may brighten the streets of Chengdu as soon as 2020. The fake moon will supposedly be able to light up an area up to about 50 miles in diameter, and also be remotely controllable for light precision.

The brightness of the artificial moon would be bright enough to replace streetlights, another state-run media outlet, Xinhua, quoted Wu as saying.

He said the man-made moon will have a coating that can reflect light from the sun with solar panel-like wings, adding that the angles of these wings can then be adjusted to allow the light to focus on a precise location. The satellite will produce a dust-like glow which won't affect animals.

For now, details on the proposed moon-including further satellite specifications, cost and launch date-remain scarce.

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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.

A similar project was planned by Russian researchers in 1999, as plans were made to use orbiting mirrors to light up cities in Siberia, hoping it would be a cheaper alternative to electric lighting.

Chengdu's artificial moon project was announced by Wu at an innovation and entrepreneurship conference in Chengdu on October 10. The scheme used a device known as the Znamya 2, which was equipped with a 25-meter mirror to illuminate a three-mile radius of land.

Some local residents have reportedly expressed concern that the project could disturb the lives of various wildlife as well as those practicing astronomical observation.

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