China intends to launch 3 artificial moons to replace streetlights by 2022

China intends to launch 3 artificial moons to replace streetlights by 2022

The artificial moon, technically called an "illumination satellite", is meant to "complement" Earth's moon and cut the city's expenses on streetlights, as well as reduce energy usage, according to the institute behind the plan.

While it might sound implausible, Wu says the technology has been in the works for years and has now "matured" toward readiness.

In fact, scientists think it will be eight times more luminous than the real moon.

Speaking at an entrepreneur conference, Wu said the satellite will allow the light to be carefully controlled and kept to an area 10-80 kilometres (around 6-50 miles) in diameter.

The "artificial moon" project was inspired by the idea - originally envisioned by a French artist - of a mirror necklace hanging above the planet that would reflect the light of the sun through the streets of Paris, the report noted. Other details, such as cost and exact launch date, were not released.

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According to the New World Atlas of Artificial Sky Brightness, light pollution in Chengdu now completely obscures the night sky, to the point that the sky is just not visible from the city.

If the launch of this moon is successful, three more could follow in 2022, Wu told China Daily.

So the city of Chengdu hopes instead to launch a better and brighter artificial moon that could be bright enough to replace street lights.

The fake moon is expected to be launched from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in China's Sichuan province. In 1993, Russian Federation launched an illumination mechanism, called a space mirror, in an effort to increase the length of the day. The People's Daily sought to reassure readers by citing a Communist Party official who "explained that the light of the satellite is similar to a dusk-like glow, so it should not affect animals' routines".

However, some scientists are sceptical about the idea, insisting the device could disturb wildlife as well as cause a number of challenges to the earth's atmosphere. It will also orbit much closer to Earth; about 500 km (310 miles) away, compared to the moon's 380,000 km (236,000 miles).

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