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Science & Technology

City to replace lights with 'artificial moon'

By T.K. Randall
October 17, 2018 · Comment icon 15 comments



Is launching an artificial moon really a good idea ? Image Credit: CC BY-2.0 Jason Bache
The Chinese city of Chengdu is working on a novel space-age solution to illuminating its streets at night.
The plan will involve launching an artificial illumination satellite that will act as a "moon" in the sky, producing a "dusk-like glow" that will cover an area of several square kilometers.

Due for launch in 2020, it will be around eight times as bright as the actual moon.

The project was revealed during an entrepreneurship event last week by Wu Chunfeng of the Chengdu Aerospace Science and Technology Microelectronics System Research Institute.
The satellite has reportedly been in testing for years and is based on the idea of a French artist "who imagined hanging a necklace made of mirrors above the Earth which could reflect sunshine through the streets of Paris all year round."

While the endeavour could very well succeed in providing light for the city, critics have pointed out that an artificial light source in the sky could be problematic, not only for animals and birds in the area but also for astronomers who likely won't appreciate the additional source of light pollution.

Whether the satellite will ever actually make it off the ground however remains to be seen.

Source: The Guardian | Comments (15)




Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #6 Posted by pallidin 5 years ago
Now we're talking...
Comment icon #7 Posted by pallidin 5 years ago
Curiouslyour development of music genre's almost exactly mimic human development. We do have to like it... but we should recognize it.
Comment icon #8 Posted by and then 5 years ago
People who love the simple pleasure of looking up into a starry sky will be disappointed. I'd be angry if someone did that here. It isn't fair to remove such a fundamental natural gift from people.
Comment icon #9 Posted by freetoroam 5 years ago
As if the Chinese have not caused enough pollution already, they want to move it further up. I doubt they care about the birds and animals.
Comment icon #10 Posted by RoofGardener 5 years ago
Umm.. surely this wouldn't work ? It relies on reflecting sunshine down onto the "dark" side of the Planet Earth (e.g. night-time). However, the earth is rotating around its axis, and also around the Sun. So the satellite would presumably have to be continuously adjusting its position in order to illuminate the City every night ? It would rapidly run out of manoeuvring fuel ? Failing that, it would work like the REAL moon.... visible at night sometimes, but not at others. And sometimes visible during the day ?
Comment icon #11 Posted by smokeycat 5 years ago
What happens when it's cloudy?
Comment icon #12 Posted by freetoroam 5 years ago
They turn the street lights on.
Comment icon #13 Posted by paperdyer 5 years ago
I'd worry about it falling somewhere with China's track record recently. If this would work the moon would have to be in a stationery orbit over China at all times and high enough to be effective. I wonder if it could/would affect the tides in that area.
Comment icon #14 Posted by toast 5 years ago
It would effect the whole planet and could lead to the end of this planet.
Comment icon #15 Posted by Jon the frog 5 years ago
Well, birds will be totally screwed in migration... lots of them use the moon and star for navigation.


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