City plans fake moon to replace street lights

Queqiao, the relay satellite for the Chang'e-4 lunar mission entered the planned halo orbit around the second Lagrangian point of the Earth Moon system about 65,000 km from the Moon on 14 June 2018 at 03:06 UTC (11:0

The Moon is great, but apparently it's just not enough for the city of Chengdu in China.

According to local reports picked up by the Asia Times, the city has been evaluating the technology behind an artificial moon for years and has tested it enough to feel it's ready for launch.

The artificial moon will be eight times brighter than the real moon, People's Daily says, and will light an area between 10 to 80 kilometers in diameter, though the range can be controlled within a few dozen meters.

Officials said it could be controlled to light up an area up to 50 miles wide and said the idea was the brainchild of a French artist. However, an expert told the People's Daily that the artificial moon's light shouldn't be so bright that it would impact them.

It will complement the moon to make Chengu's night skies brighter when it launches in 2020, potentially serving as a replacement to conventional streetlights.

He said the man-made moon will have a coating that can reflect light from the sun with solar panel-like wings, adding that the angles of these wings can then be adjusted to allow the light to focus on a precise location.

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It is not clear whether the plan has the backing of the city of Chengdu or the Chinese government, though Casc is the main contractor for the Chinese space programme.

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.

This isn't the first time researchers have tried to illuminate the skies with artificial rays.

China is preparing to launch three artificial moons in space in 2022, the state-run Science and Technology Daily reported. The real moon, of course, can usually be seen from anywhere on Earth.

CHINA has a freakish plan to launch what could be the world's largest light globe. The mirror failed to unfold in space and the experiment was halted.

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