Chinese city to launch artificial moon in hopes of replacing street lights

Posted October 19, 2018

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.

Wu Chunfend, chairman of Chengdu Aerospace Science and Technology Microelectronics System Research Institute Co., Ltd, revealed the plan at an event in the city on Oct 10, People's Daily reports.

The satellite, which is also known as an artificial moon, will be able to illuminate a roughly 6- to 50-mile wide stretch of the southwestern Chinese city with light eight times brighter than that of the real moon.

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The "artificial moon" would be bright enough to lit an area with a diameter of 10km to 80km and which coverage area could be controlled within "a few dozen meters".

In other words, one would think Casc would know whether a plan to launch a new satellite has Beijing's approval or not.

Regarding concerns about the Chinese artificial moon interfering with astronomical observations or disrupting animals that are active at night, Kang Weimin, the director of the Institute of Optics of the Harbin Institute of Technology in China, said that the light would amount to only a "dusk-like glow", PDO reported.

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The first man-made moon will launch from Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan, with three more to follow in 2022 if the first test goes well, said Wu Chunfeng, head of Tian Fu New Area Science Society, the organisation responsible for the project. The brightness of the artificial moon would be bright enough to replace streetlights, another state-run media outlet, Xinhua, quoted Wu as saying.

Asia Times reports that the satellite would have a "highly reflective coating to reflect light from the sun with solar panel-like wings whose angles can be adjusted". 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.

The scheme developed by Russian Federation used a device called Znamya 2.

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