Published: Thu, October 18, 2018
Research | By Raquel Erickson

China To Launch Man-Made Moon To Replace Street Lights

China To Launch Man-Made Moon To Replace Street Lights

The so-called illumination satellite set to deploy over the southwestern city of Chengdu in 2020 is touted to be eight times as bright as the real moon, to cast a "dusk-like glow" over the region, according to the People's Daily.

Moonlit skies over the Chinese city of Chengdu may soon get a boost from a second moon.

The illuminated orb is meant to complement the light of Earth's existing moon, and will be eight times brighter than the natural satellite, Wu Chunfeng, chairman of Chengdu Aerospace Science and Technology Microelectronics System Research Institute Co. (Casc). He spoke about the plan at an event last week.


In fact, light from the artificial moon is expected to save the city money by doing away with the need for streetlights, Chunfeng added. The state media outlet claims that the fake moon would be able to light up an area with a diameter of 10 to 80 kilometers with officials on the ground able to focus all that the illumination on Chengdu. The moon would be eighttimes brighter than the Earth's actual moon, creating an opportunity for the streets of Chengdu to be illuminated by the satellite instead of street lights.

Of course, artificial lighting is already a contentious issue - potential annoyances at the loss of a night sky aside, these lights have the potential to negatively impact human health, animal routines, and make life harder for astronomers.

The People's Daily report credited the idea to "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". The People's Daily also clarified that the satellite created to complement the natural moonlight, describing it as "similar to a dusk-like glow".

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