City plans fake moon to replace street lights

James Marshall
October 18, 2018

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.

In the latest completely bonkers idea to come out of China, the city of Chengdu is apparently planning to launch an "artificial moon" which would effectively make street lights obsolete.

The vision was shared by Wu Chunfeng, the chairman of the private space contractor Chengdu Aerospace Science and Technology Microelectronics System Research Institute Co (Casc), at a national mass innovation and entrepreneurship event held in Chengdu last week.

The planned "illumination satellite" would be sent up into space to "complement the moon at night" by shining eight times as bright, reports the People's Daily. The artificial moon is made from a reflective coating that can aim the sun's light back to Earth and cover a span of 6 miles to 50 miles. If the effort is successful, it would likely mean the city would have the equivalent of a full moon every night rather than just at certain times of the month. He said preliminary testing is now complete, and the satellite should be ready for launch by 2020, according to state media this week. However, an expert told the People's Daily that the artificial moon's light shouldn't be so bright that it would impact them.

It cited Kang Weimin, director of the institute of optics at Harbin Institute of Technology, who "explained that the light of the satellite is similar to a dusk-like glow, so it should not affect animals' routines". The artist imagined a mirrored necklace around the Earth to reflect sunlight onto Paris year-round.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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