Chinese City Wants to Replace Streetlights With 'Artificial Moon'
22 October, 2018, 01:20 | Author: Darnell Taylor
Chengdu, the capital of China's Sichuan province, just announced its rather outrageous plan to help save electricity by launching an illumination satellite that will light up the city, which they have dubbed as an "artificial moon". Wu Chunfeng, chairman of the Chengdu Aerospace Science and Technology Microelectronics System Research Institute Co., Ltd, believes that the galactic device could light an area of significant size, ranging from a diameter of 4 to 50 miles.
"The first moon will be mostly experimental, but the three moons in 2022 will be the real deal with great civic and commercial potential", explained Mr. Wu. I graduated Phi Beta Kappa with Honors from the University of MI and had a master of arts from Columbia University's School of Journalism. Then there's the problem that clouds hovering over the city will block the illumination satellite's light from reaching the ground.
"What is the point of creating an artificial moon that breaks the laws of nature?" noted Shaolin Xu, a famous commentator, on his Weibo account.
Three more moons will launch in 2022 if the initial test goes off without a hitch, he added.
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As China's space program races to catch that of the United States and Russian Federation, various goal-oriented undertakings are in the pipeline, including the Chang'e-4 lunar probe - named after the moon goddess in Chinese folklore - which means to launch sometime later this year.
The light emitted by the satellite will complement the existent light from the moon, and if the resulting one is powerful enough, traditional streetlights may be removed.
This isn't the first time that a country has tried to outshine the moon. Development and testing of the satellites started several years ago but has only been finalized recently. It will be so bright because it will be at a 500km distance from Earth - closer than the moon, which is 380,000km away.
The moon project has reportedly received approval for trial and demonstration from organizations such as Harbin Institute of Technology and China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp, but the likelihood of the lunar launch remains to be seen. The US explored the idea, and the 1990's the Soviet Union attempted to launch the Znamya (or Banner) satellite into orbit. The Russian project called Znamya was a 25-meter space mirror was meant to point illumination down on Russian cities.
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