Chinese City Wants to Launch Artificial Moon

Chinese City Wants to Launch Artificial Moon

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 southwestern Chinese city of Chengdu is planning on launching a fake moon into space in hopes of it illuminating the entire country.

The satellite will reportedly be eight times brighter than the real moon and could replace street lights. 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.

The illumination satellite, which is due to be launched within the next two years, will have a reflective coating on its surface to reflect light from the sun, according to Asia Times.

The angles of these wings can then be adjusted to allow the light to focus on a precise location.

Wu Chunfend, chairman of Chengdu Aerospace Science and Technology Microelectronics System Research Institute Co., Ltd, revealed the plan at an event in the city on Oct 10, People's Daily reports.

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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.

Some expressed concerns about light pollution and potentially negative impact on animals.

The likelihood that the moon will ever rise in the skies above Chengdu has already been dismissed by some skeptics - but the Chinese are not the first to come up with the ambitious idea.

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 device, dubbed Znamya 2, collapsed soon after take-off and was subsequently abandoned.

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