Chinese City Wants to Launch Fake Moon to Illuminate Its Streets

China to launch four artificial moons

China to launch four artificial moons

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.

Officials in China are planning to launch a man-made moon to rest in the sky above the south-western city of Chengdu.

Details on the "illumination satellite" are few, but Wu said it would be eight times brighter than the actual moon, could light an area 10 to 80 kilometers (6.2 to 50 miles) wide, and that its exact lighting range could be controlled within a few dozen meters, according to the People's Daily Online.

This info all comes via Wu Chunfeng, the chairman of Chengdu Aerospace Science and Technology Microelectronics System Research Institute Co., who spoke last week at an innovation and entrepreneurship conference in Chengdu.

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

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A French artist once envisioned a cosmic version of Versailles' famed Hall of Mirrors, reportedly proposing the creation of an artificial moon powered by a necklace of mirrors that would reflect light back onto the streets of Paris.

However, Kang Weimin, director of the Institute of Optics, School of Aerospace, Harbin Institute of Technology, said the light would be similar to dusk and that it shouldn't upset animal routines.

It is not clear whether the plan has the backing of the city of Chengdu or the Chinese government, though Casc is the main contractor for the Chinese space programme.

There are concerns that the light will affect animal behaviour.

The Znamya experiment was to "test the feasibility of illuminating points on Earth with light equivalent to that of several full moons", The New York Times said.

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