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China to launch artificial Moon to illuminate urban areas

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Is there an alternative to the humble street light? The Chinese city of Chengdu thinks so, as it has announced plans to launch an illumination satellite disguised as an artificial moon within the next two years.
The Chinese city of Chengdu is aiming to replace its streetlights with an illumination satellite!
In an attempt to reduce the cost of streetlights, Chendgu city officials have turned to the Tian Fu New Area Science Society to make the new artificial moon concept a reality. The team behind the project reckon that by lighting up 31 square miles of Chengdu’s night sky, the artificial moon could save the city an estimated 1.2 billion yuan ($174 million) each year in lighting costs.

The team are aiming to have launched the mini-moon by 2020, with another three satellite moons planned for 2022.

But why go to the effort of creating and launching an ‘illumination satellite’?

Aside from the supposed cost savings, the mini-moons will be able to shine eight times brighter than the sun and will be under complete human control meaning that areas of the city could be illuminated strategically. When the additional moons are launched, they will be able to work together to illuminate between 2,000 to 4,000 square miles.

Critics of the project have raised concerns around the moons’ impact on the sleep pattern of humans and animals, as well as negatively affecting astronomical observation through light pollution.

Although further details are scarce at the moment, if the project proves to be a success it could herald a new era of space energy harvesting, geoengineering and more!
Tags: Engineering
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China to launch artificial Moon to illuminate urban areas - Time to read 2 min
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