Published: Fri, October 19, 2018
Sci-tech | By April Francis

China Wants To Put An Artificial Moon Into Earth Orbit

China Wants To Put An Artificial Moon Into Earth Orbit

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 plans were reportedly revealed by the Chengdu Aerospace Science and Technology Microelectronics System Research Institute Co.at a Chinese innovation and entrepreneurship event that took place 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 or manmade moon is a satellite carrying a huge space mirror, which can reflect the sunlight to the Earth. But little is known about the height, size and true brightness of the proposed artificial moon - all of which are factors that could affect its visibility to distant observers. Officials on the ground can control the diameter of the light to ensure it focuses precisely on the city and nowhere else, according to the report.

Exact details about the new moon and the launch date haven't been released, but Wu said scientists have been working on the idea for years and that technology has finally matured.

This isn't the first time that a country has tried to outshine the moon.

The Znamya experiment was to "test the feasibility of illuminating points on Earth with light equivalent to that of several full moons", The New York Times said.

In 1999, a Russian experiment to deploy a large mirror in space created to function like an artificial moon was unsuccessful after it failed to unfold properly.

Though skeptics have expressed doubt over whether the company will ever actually launch such a device, it does again raise questions over whether it is wise to fill the night sky with artificial lights. And, by 2020, it may even become reality.

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