China To Launch Man-Made Moon To Replace Street Lights

Scientists say an artificial moon could provide eight times the light of a real full moon and do away with the need for streetlights

That’s no moon, it’s a Chinese space light

Officials in China are planning to launch a man-made moon to rest in the sky above the south-western city of Chengdu.

The Independent UK reports that Chengdu's streetlights will be replaced with a satellite that will boost the glow of the real moon.

Controls on the satellite will allow light levels to be configured and controlled, Wu told a conference of entrepreneurs, and the final object would be able to reflect light on a 10 to 80 mile area, well within the city's area.

He added that the testing of the illumination started years ago and is now ready. (Casc). He spoke about the plan at an event last week.

The newspaper credited a French artist for the idea of putting a manmade moon into orbit.

There are precedents for the scheme, though the technology and ambitions differ.

"Rjukan - or at least, a small but vital part of Rjukan - is no longer stuck where the sun don't shine", The Guardian reported at the time. A similar project was unveiled by Russian Federation in the 1990s, with the launch of a solar reflecting system - a "space mirror" - meant to produce light "equivalent to three to five full moons" covering an area approximately 3 miles (5 kilometers) in diameter, the New York Times reported in 1993. "Several" proved an overstatement, but the design was shown to be sound.

However, one of those involved in the project, Kang Weimin, director of the Institute of Optics, School of Aerospace, Harbin Institute of Technology, said this was not the case.

But Znamya 2.5 misfired on launch and its creators failed to raise funding for another attempt. 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.

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