The streets of Chengdu in western China could soon be lit up by an artificial satellite moon in the night-time, rather than the more conventional streetlights, if an ambitious plan by a private aerospace company gets the go-ahead. Not satisfied with the meager light the Moon reflects back down to Earth at night, scientists in the region plan to launch a satellite that will actually reflect sunlight back down to Earth and turn night into day... sort of. The new moon will be capable of illuminating an area of up to 50 miles (80 kilometers) in diameter, according to PDO. However, an expert told the People's Daily that the artificial moon's light shouldn't be so bright that it would impact them.
Camera Icon The articial light emitted would replace streetlights in the Chinese city
The satellite will be carrying a huge space mirror, which can reflect the sunlight to the earth. 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.
Wu said the illumination satellite was first tested several years ago and now the technology had now matured.
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China is planning to launch its own "artificial moon" by 2020 to replace streetlamps and lower electricity costs in urban areas, state media reported on Friday.
However, Wu stressed that much work still needs to be done, both in terms of scientific feasibility and business models, to tap into the full potential of China's artificial moons. In the 1990s, Russian Federation experimented with using an orbital mirror to reflect sunlight on some of its sun-deprived northern cities, according to the New York Times. Scientists have always been critical of human light pollution and its ability to potentially throw off the day/night rhythm of animals, and the same could be true of this fake moon plan.
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