China to launch ‘man-made moons’ to lower electricity costs

The artificial moon could be floating above China in 2020

It is expected to produce eight times more light than the real moon.

The People's Daily reports that Chengdu plans to launch their artificial moon as early as 2020.

The artificial moon will be able to light an area within a diameter of 10 to 80 kilometres. 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. The imitation celestial body - essentially an illuminated satellite - will bear a reflective coating to cast sunlight back to Earth, where it will supplement streetlights at night.

Based on a report from the People's Daily in China, inspiration came from an unnamed French artist who wanted to hang a necklace made of mirrors up above Earth to reflect sunshine on Paris at night.

It also will have solar panel-like wings on its surface which can be adjusted for precise lighting.

The Chinese city of Chengdu could put an 'artificial moon' in the sky to make nights brighter.

The articial light emitted would replace streetlights in the Chinese city of Chengdu
Camera Icon The articial light emitted would replace streetlights in the Chinese city

Any concerns about light pollution or the disruption to nocturnal animals appeared to be quashed at the event.

However, the exact details of the spacecraft, the launch date and how the artificial moon would be maintained were not revealed.

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.

The moon has been tested for the past several years and will be released in 2020.

Moonlit skies over the Chinese city of Chengdu may soon get a boost from a second moon. In the 1990s, Russian Federation experimented with using an orbital mirror to reflect sunlight on some of its sun-deprived northern cities, according to the New York Times.

The three new man-made moons can take turns reflecting sunlight as they will not always be in the best position relative to the sun, and together they can illuminate an area of around 3,600 to 6,400 sq km on Earth for 24 hours if desired, he said.

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