China Is Launching Its Own Artificial Moon in 2020

Could China really light up the night sky

China to launch 'artificial moon' by 2020, says new research

Chinese scientists are planning to launch an artificial moon into the sky by 2020 to help illuminate one of its biggest cities.

The city of Chengdu has unveiled plans to replace the city's streetlights with a satellite that will boost the glow of the real moon.

It's said that the man-made moons will illuminate an area of 50 square kilometers, and work by reflecting light from the sun in a bid to replace the need for street lamps in urban areas.

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

"The "artificial moon" would increase the illumination level at the ground by a factor of about 47", Barentine added.

The angles of these wings can then be adjusted to allow the light to focus on a precise location, Asia Times reported.

It's estimated the moon would save the city about 1.2 billion yuan ($240 million) in electricity costs every year, and could be launched as early as 2020.

"The Chengdu "artificial moon" would have the effect of significantly increasing the nighttime brightness of an already light-polluted city, creating problems for both Chengdu's residents, who are unable to screen out the unwanted light, as well as for the urban wildlife population that can't simply go inside and close the shutters", Barentine told Forbes in an October 18 report.

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"We will only conduct our tests in an uninhabited desert, so our light beams will not interfere with any people or Earth-based space observation equipment", he said.

But that amount of lighting is likely to still affect natural circadian rhythms. The Chengdu launch is the forerunner to another launch in 2022, when three more man-made moons are planned to be transported more than 300 miles above Earth.

The China Daily report cites China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp, a state-owned company and the main contractor for China's space program, as a partner.

"But this is not enough to light up the entire night sky", he said.

The mirrors will launch from Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan province before the end of the year.

Russia was the first country to experiment with this concept when the country attempted to deploy a large 25-meter orbital mirror to reflect sunlight on northern Russian cities that rarely got sunlight. The three-foot-wide sphere is named Humanity Star and described as a giant disco ball with panels much like a soccer ball.

The moon is tidally locked, so only one side of the moon is ever seen from Earth. Thank you for the consideration.

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