The Chinese City of Chengdu will soon be getting some fancy lighting at night, as the Tian Fu New Area Science Society scientists aim to launch an artificial moon by 2020. The moon will orbit above Chengdu, a capital of Sichuan province in China. The artificial moon will compliment the natural moon and is assumed to be eight times brighter !!!
How does the new moon work
Essentially the moon will orbit on its own at 500km above the Earth and will replace streetlights at night thus saving energy. The estimated bill that could be saved annually by this innovation is around 1.2 billion yuan (USD$174 million) scientist Wu Chunfeng said
This is not enough to light up the entire night sky, Its expected brightness, in the eyes of humans, is around one-fifth of normal streetlights.The location and brightness of the light beam can be changed, and its coverage accuracy can fall within a few dozen meters.
The first moon will be mostly experimental, but the three moons in 2022 will be the real deal with great civic and commercial potential,” Wu said.The three new man-made moons can take turns reflecting sunlight as they will not always be in the best position relative to the sun, and together they can illuminate an area of around 3,600 to 6,400 sq km on Earth for 24 hours if desired,
We will only conduct our tests in an uninhabited desert, so our light beams will not interfere with any people or Earth-based space observation equipment, he said. When the satellite is in operation, people will see only a bright star above, and not a giant moon as imagined.
Who else is thinking along the same lines ….
The Chinese are not the first to have tried to launch a similar project. In 1999, Russia under a project called Banner tried sending a 2,5 diameter mirror to into space. The project reportedly failed due to financial constraints after the space mirror misfired at launch and could not be continued.
Apart from China, Russia, the United States, Japan and European countries are all looking to capitalize on harnessing energy from space, and reflecting mirrors have reportedly been on the discussion table for some time.
Will the artificial moon contribute to global warming?
Of course, Mr Wu mentioned conducting tests in isolated places but will the artificial moon after launch affect the nocturnal animals?
From the given explanation there is still work that needs to be done scientifically, and the technology itself and but who knows the Chinese may succeed.