That’s no moon, it’s a Chinese space light

Why a City in China Wants to Launch an Artificial Moon Into SpaceMore

Why a City in China Wants to Launch an Artificial Moon Into SpaceMore

The artificial moon will be able to light an area within a diameter of 10 to 80 kilometres.

One moon apparently isn't enough for the Chinese city of Chengdu, according to a report in the People's Daily. According to The Asia Times, Chengdu's artificial moon will feature a highly reflective coating that reflects the sun's rays via solar panel-like wings.

People's Daily was quick to reassure those concerned about the fake moon's impact on nighttime wildlife.

In fact, light from the artificial moon is expected to save the city money by doing away with the need for streetlights, Chunfeng added.

The idea was launched at a press conference earlier this month by Chengdu Aerospace Science and Technology Microelectronics System Research Institute.

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About concerns that the manmade moonlight will interrupt the normal day-night cycle of animals and plants, Wu said the light intensity and illumination time can be adjusted and the accuracy of illumination can be controlled within scores of meters.

Kang Weimin, director of the Institute of Optics, School of Aerospace, Harbin Institute of Technology, assured that the light of the satellite is similar to a dusk-like glow, so it should not affect animals' routines.

For now, details on the proposed moon-including further satellite specifications, cost and launch date-remain scarce.

The likelihood that the moon will ever rise in the skies above Chengdu has already been dismissed by some skeptics - but the Chinese are not the first to come up with the ambitious idea.

The scheme developed by Russian Federation used a device called Znamya 2. Still, the underlying concept embraced by the experiment - which The New York Times described at the time as a test of "the feasibility of illuminating points on Earth with light equivalent to that of several full moons" - remains an enticing prospect.

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