Tags: china | artificial moon

China's Artificial Moon Due Up in 2020 to Replace Streetlights

bright moon over city lights

(Dreamstime)

By    |   Friday, 19 October 2018 07:58 AM

China plans to launch an artificial moon into space by 2020 bright enough to replace streetlights the south-western city of Chengdu, the China Daily reported on Thursday. Then two others will follow.

The illuminated satellite is designed to complement the moon and will be made of reflective material to reflect sunlight to earth.

Officials said it will be eight times brighter than the real moon and they expect to complete work on it within two years.

The plan is to launch three artificial moons into space over the next four years, which will then operate alternately to light up city streets and ultimately save millions in electricity costs each year.

The project will also provide illumination to areas that experience blackouts and power outages.

Officials have touted the numerous benefits of using an artificial moon to light up the night sky, but many people on the Chinese social media platform Weibo were skeptical, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported.

“What is the point of creating an artificial moon that breaks the laws of nature?” noted Shaolin Xu, a famous commentator, on his Weibo account.

Others expressed concern about how the project could negatively impact the natural rhythms of plants and animals, but Wu Chunfeng, chairman of the Chengdu Aerospace Science and Technology Microelectronics System Research Institute Corporation which developed the project, said the artificial moon’s light intensity and illumination time were adjustable and it would ideally provide a “dusk-like glow,” according to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation

He added that the first artificial moon was largely an experiment but scientists hoped that the other moons that follow would be the “real deal,” China Daily noted.

“We will only conduct our tests in an uninhabited desert, so our light beams will not interfere with any people or Earth-based space observation equipment,” he assured. “When the satellite is in operation, people will see only a bright star above, and not a giant moon as imagined.”

Similar experimental projects have been undertaken in the past but were largely unsuccessful.

Russia experimented with using an artificial moon in the 1990s to reflect sunlight to its northern cities but the experiment failed, The New York Times reported.

In January, an artificial star was launched into space by American firm Rocket Lab, but the reflective mini-satellite received criticism for its contribution to light pollution, Time reported.

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China plans to launch an artificial moon into space by 2020 bright enough to replace streetlights the south-western city of Chengdu, the China Daily reported on Thursday. Then two others will follow.
china, artificial moon
391
2018-58-19
Friday, 19 October 2018 07:58 AM
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