China to launch 'moon' to light up city at night

Jan Cross
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.

City officials recently announced plans to build an artificial moon, launching it to hang over Sichuan province's capital city by 2020, Chinese news site People's Daily Online (PDO) reported.

The artificial moon will have a reflective coating that can deflect sunlight back to Earth, similar to how the moon shines, he said.

The fake moon's glow is predicted to light up an area with a diameter of 10-80 kilometres; with its precise illumination range being controlled within a few dozen metres, making it eight times as bright as the real moon.

Some experts who support the plan suggest that it'll produce little more than a "twilight glow" that shouldn't change how animals behave, but nobody will know for certain until the satellite is up and running. However, an expert told the People's Daily that the artificial moon's light shouldn't be so bright that it would impact them.

According to Wu, the company started testing this satellite years ago, having developed the technology sufficiently enough for it to be launched.

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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.

The Moon is great, but apparently it's just not enough for the city of Chengdu in China.

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.

Another Russian attempt to launch a space mirror in 1999 fizzled before it got off the ground, according to The Guardian.

The device, dubbed Znamya 2, collapsed soon after take-off and was subsequently abandoned. And, by 2020, it may even become reality.

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