City plans fake moon to replace street lights

Cristina Cross
October 19, 2018

A city in China is planning to launch an "artificial moon" that will light up the skies as far as 50 miles around.

City officials recently announced plans to build an artificial moon, launching it to hang over Sichuan province's capital city by 2020, Chinese news site People's Daily Online (PDO) reported.

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".

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.

The satellite will reportedly be eight times brighter than the real moon and could replace street lights. 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.

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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.

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.

The project was introduced to the public by Wu Chunfeng, chairman of Chengdu Aerospace Science and Technology Microelectronics System Research Institute Co., Ltd. The mirror failed to unfold in space and the experiment was halted.

According to Wu, the company started testing this satellite years ago, having developed the technology sufficiently enough for it to be launched. And, by 2020, it may even become reality.

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