New moon: China to launch lunar lighting in outer space

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New moon: China to launch lunar lighting in outer space

The city has plans to launch an "artificial moon" into space by 2020, which can save about 1.2 billion yuan (about $172 million) a year in electricity costs, according to China Daily. If all goes to plan, the construction will shine simultaneously with the real moon, but will be nearly eight times brighter, the online portal wrote.

It is hoped that the artificial moon will replace streetlights in the urban area.

Wu Chunfeng, chairman of Chengdu aerospace science and technology microelectronics system research institute, announced the news and said that the artificial moon would be eight times brighter than the real moon, according to the People's Daily.

"The "artificial moon" would increase the illumination level at the ground by a factor of about 47", Barentine added.

The panels will catch and release light from the sun just as the moon does.

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

China to launch artificial moon by 2020.

"The Chengdu "artificial moon" would have the effect of significantly increasing the nighttime brightness of an already light-polluted city, creating problems for both Chengdu's residents, who are unable to screen out the unwanted light, as well as for the urban wildlife population that can't simply go inside and close the shutters", Barentine told Forbes in an October 18 report. If successful, it could save the city up to $240 million in annual electricity costs.

Kang Weimin, the director of the Institute of Optics of the Harbin Institute of Technology, explained that light from the satellite could only be similar to a dusk-like hue, so it would never turn night into day. China reports that the testing will not harm the environment in any way, nor will it interfere with any plant or animal circadian rhythm cycles - the light-dark cycles that humans, animals and plants take queues from.

If this proves to be a success, more moons will likely start popping up around the country.

Earlier this year, American space startup and Los Angeles based company Rocket Lab launched its own reflective mini-satellite into space from its launch site in New Zealand.

There's all sorts of problems with the fake moon idea though, one of them being that, for it to work, it would have to stay in geostationary orbit and aim directly towards Chengdu with extreme accuracy, from 37,000km.

Such an ambitious project to beam light back to Earth is not a first. The company wanted to boast that the orb was the brightest object in the night sky; but the company has drawn criticism for contributing more space junk that serves no real objective.

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