Chinese city wants to launch artificial moon to 'replace streetlights'

Chinese city wants to launch artificial moon to 'replace streetlights'

Chinese city wants to launch artificial moon to 'replace streetlights'

This is not the first reflective satellite that has been planned.

If Chengdu can get approval for the artificial moon and actually launch it in space in the next couple of years, the city is hopeful it'll help it save money on illuminating its streets.

The man-made moon is essentially an illumination satellite created to complement the moon at night, though it is predicted to be eight times brighter, the scientist added.

Wu Chunfeng, the chairman of the southwestern city's Aerospace Science and Technology Microelectronics System Research Institute, told a recent conference that an "artificial moon", also known as an illumination satellite, will be ready to launch in 2020, the Daily reports.

The artificial moon will reportedly be able to light an area within a diameter of 10 to 80 kilometres while the precise illumination range can be controlled within a few dozen meters. If all goes well, the fake moon will produce enough light to replace Chengdu's street lamps.

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There are concerns that the light will affect animal behaviour.

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

According to the International Dark Sky Association, which advocates for the protection of night skies, living under light-polluted skies is a grave health hazard as our biological clock evolved to match the day-night cycle, and exposure to artificial light at night has been linked to an increased risk of obesity, sleep disorders, depression and more.

State media reports were quick to dispel any potential worries about what sort of damage the project could do to the environment, quoting an expert as explaining that the light of the satellite would be "similar to a dusk-like glow" and so should not throw off animals' routines. The artist imagined a mirrored necklace around the Earth to reflect sunlight onto Paris year-round.

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