Wednesday, 14 November, 2018

China to launch artificial ‘moon’ into orbit to light up cities

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Sandra Phillips | 19 October, 2018, 00:33

In the latest completely bonkers idea to come out of China, the city of Chengdu is apparently planning to launch an "artificial moon" which would effectively make street lights obsolete.

The man-made moon will have a coating that can reflect light from the sun with solar panel-like wings.

People's Daily was quick to reassure those concerned about the fake moon's impact on nighttime wildlife. 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. He explained that their artificial moon will be eight times brighter than Earth's natural moon and be "bright enough to replace street lights in the city".

About concerns that the manmade moonlight will interrupt the normal day-night cycle of animals and plants, Wu said the light intensity and illumination time can be adjusted and the accuracy of illumination can be controlled within scores of meters.

The moon just doesn't cut it anymore for one Chinese city.

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But according to Kang Weimin, director of the Institute of Optics, School of Aerospace, Harbin Institute of Technology, the light will amount only to a 'dusk-like glow'.

This isn't the first time researchers have tried to illuminate the skies with artificial rays.

He added that the testing of the illumination started years ago and is now ready. The Telegraph's Joseph Archer reports that Russian scientists launched a mirror-equipped spacecraft created to brighten Siberia's sun-deprived streets back in 1999.

If Chengdu can get approval for the artificial moon and actually launch it in space in the next couple of years, the city is hopeful it'll help it save money on illuminating its streets. And, by 2020, it may even become reality.

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