China May Soon Have a Second (Artificial) Moon

19 October, 2018, 16:13 | Author: Bertha Harmon
  • China to launch four artificial moons

The streets of Chengdu in western China could soon be lit up by an artificial satellite moon in the night-time, rather than the more conventional streetlights, if an ambitious plan by a private aerospace company gets the go-ahead.

Chengdu, in southwest China's Sichuan province, announced on Tuesday it was planning to launch an "illumination satellite" by 2020, People's Daily reported, adding that it would have eight times more light than the real deal.

The freaky plan, which would give a "dust-like glow" for the south-western city of 14 million, was revealed in the People's Daily newspaper. The state media outlet claims that the fake moon would be able to light up an area with a diameter of 10 to 80 kilometers with officials on the ground able to focus all that the illumination on Chengdu. The artificial moon is made from a reflective coating that can aim the sun's light back to Earth and cover a span of 6 miles to 50 miles.

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The artificial moon might replace some street lights in the urban area, thus conserving energy.

The artist imagined a mirrored necklace around the Earth to reflect sunlight onto Paris year-round.

There's also been some very real concern that the mirror's never-ending glow could seriously impact natural cycles of animals.

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However, the exact details of the spacecraft, the launch date and how the artificial moon would be maintained were not revealed.

The last project of such kind was a Russian attempt in 1999 to use orbiting mirrors as a way to illuminate cities in Siberia, mainly in the hope it would serve as a cheaper alternative to electric lighting.

China's space industry is preparing to launch the world's first artificial moon to help with urban illumination at night, a leading scientist said. Still, the underlying concept embraced by the experiment - which The New York Times described at the time as a test of "the feasibility of illuminating points on Earth with light equivalent to that of several full moons" - remains an enticing prospect.

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