New moon: China to launch lunar lighting in outer space
New moon: China to launch lunar lighting in outer space
Camera Icon The artificial moon could be floating above China
19 October, 2018, 16:14
It is expected to produce eight times more light than the real moon.
The plans were reportedly revealed by the Chengdu Aerospace Science and Technology Microelectronics System Research Institute Co.at a Chinese innovation and entrepreneurship event that took place last week. 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 man-made moon to be launched by 2020 as Beijing hopes to use "illumination satellites" to light up city streets.
The man-made moon will have a coating that can reflect light from the sun with solar panel-like wings.
Camera Icon The articial light emitted would replace streetlights in the Chinese city
Based on a report from the People's Daily in China, inspiration came from an unnamed French artist who wanted to hang a necklace made of mirrors up above Earth to reflect sunshine on Paris at night.
The illumination satellite is created to complement the moon at night, said Wu Chunfeng, chairman of Chengdu Aerospace Science and Technology Microelectronics System Research Institute Co., Ltd.
Wu said they have been testing the illumination satellite for years, and they now feel it will be ready to launch in two years. Russian scientists tried it in 1993; a second go in 1999 prompted "preemptive concerns about light pollution disrupting nocturnal animals and astronomical observation", The Guardian reports. Scientists have always been critical of human light pollution and its ability to potentially throw off the day/night rhythm of animals, and the same could be true of this fake moon plan.
Wu estimated that new moons could save the city of Chengdu around 1.2 billion yuan ($173 million) in electricity costs annually, and could even assist first responders during blackouts and natural disasters.
The device, dubbed Znamya 2, collapsed soon after take-off and was subsequently abandoned.
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