China To Launch Man-Made Moon To Replace Street Lights

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One moon apparently isn't enough for the Chinese city of Chengdu, according to a report in the People's Daily.

Asia Times reports that the satellite would have a "highly reflective coating to reflect light from the sun with solar panel-like wings whose angles can be adjusted". When a man-made moon is orbiting, people can only see a bright star in the sky.

The fake moon's glow is predicted to light up an area with a diameter of 6-260 miles; with its precise illumination range being controlled within a few dozen meters, making it eight times as bright as the real moon.

However, Kang Weimin, director of the Institute of Optics, School of Aerospace, Harbin Institute of Technology, said the light would be similar to dusk and that it shouldn't upset animal routines.

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.

Giulio Calenne of Chinese commerce outlet CIFnews writes that the idea has raised concerns amongst those who fear the artificial light could have adverse effects on wildlife and astronomical observation.

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While it might sound implausible, Wu says the technology has been in the works for years and has now "matured" toward readiness.

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

He added that the testing of the illumination started years ago and is now ready.

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.

Officials in the city hope the artificial moon will bring in more tourists once it is in the sky. And, by 2020, it may even become reality.

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