Monday, 19 November, 2018

China To Launch 'Artificial Moon' To Illuminate City Streets

Scientists say an artificial moon could provide eight times the light of a real full moon and do away with the need for streetlights That’s no moon, it’s a Chinese space light
Stacy Houston | 19 October, 2018, 16:16

Chengdu, the capital of the Sichuan province, has proposed a plan to launch an artificial moon, or illumination satellite, into space, Asia Times is reporting. Officials on the ground can control the diameter of the light to ensure it focuses precisely on the city and nowhere else, according to the report. The Norwegian town of Rjukan installed three large computer-controlled mirrors to track and reflect sunlight in 2013; in the 1990s, Russian astronomers succeeded in launching a satellite into space to deflect sunlight back to Earth, but a second attempt in 1999 failed.

The brightness of the artificial moon would be bright enough to replace streetlights, another state-run media outlet, Xinhua, quoted Wu as saying.

The southwestern Chinese city of Chengdu intends to launch a fake moon into space in that researchers expect would orbit about 500 kilometres above the earth.

The idea came from a French artist who suggested that a "necklace made of mirrors above the earth.could reflect sunshine through the streets of Paris all year round", People's Daily says.

Artificial light also throws animals off their natural day-night rhythms.

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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 testing of the illumination satellite started years ago, and now the technology has finally matured, explained Wu.

As Fortune's Don Reisinger notes, Chengdu officials hope the project will generate a financial windfall, allowing the city to cut electricity costs and attract tourists.

In 1999, a Russian experiment to deploy a large mirror in space created to function like an artificial moon was unsuccessful after it failed to unfold properly.

However some members of the public are reportedly anxious the man-made moon might have an adverse effect on animals and star-gazing. The scheme used a device known as the Znamya 2, which was equipped with a 25-meter mirror to illuminate a three-mile radius of land.

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