Chinese City Wants to Launch Artificial Moon

18 October, 2018, 18:21 | Author: Darnell Taylor
  • A giant model of the moon on display during China’s Mid Autumn Festival

Officials in China are planning to launch a man-made moon to rest in the sky above the south-western city of Chengdu. He said preliminary testing is now complete, and the satellite should be ready for launch by 2020, according to state media this week.

The artificial moon would be able to light an area of up to 10 to 80 kilometers in diameter, giving a dusk-like hue to complement the real moon in the sky. (Casc). He spoke about the plan at an event last week.

The newspaper credited a French artist for the idea of putting a manmade moon into orbit.

There are precedents for the scheme, though the technology and ambitions differ. In 2013, the town set up three computer-controlled mirrors to shine sunlight into the main square; you can see it in action below.

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With an ultra-bright full moon each and every night, the city would then be in for serious savings on their monthly electric bills, or at least that appears to be the rationale for the ambitious project. "Several" proved an overstatement, but the design was shown to be sound.

Of course, artificial lighting is already a contentious issue - potential annoyances at the loss of a night sky aside, these lights have the potential to negatively impact human health, animal routines, and make life harder for astronomers.

A spokesman for the German technology ministry was less concerned, telling The Guardian, "It's a bit early for April Fool jokes but this sounds like one". The moon would be eighttimes brighter than the Earth's actual moon, creating an opportunity for the streets of Chengdu to be illuminated by the satellite instead of street lights.

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