Chinese city to build “artificial moon”

Chinese city to build "artificial moon"

The new illumination satellite should complement the natural Moon and replace street lights of Chengdu

A city in southwestern China has decided to come up with something absolutely unique. By 2020, the capital of Sichuan province, Chengdu, plans to fit a second, artificial moon to its sky.

The new illumination satellite designed by the Chengdu Aerospace Science and Technology Microelectronics System Research Institute will reflect sunlight at night and direct it to the streets of Chengdu.

The artificial moon will lighten up the streets of Chengdu at night — Unsplash Chinese city to build "artificial moon"
The artificial moon will lighten up the streets of Chengdu at night — Unsplash

While complementing the natural Moon, the artificial one should be eight times brighter. According to the institute’s chairman, Wu Chunfeng, the reflected light should be strong enough to replace street lights at night.

The diameter of the satellite should reach up to 80 metres, but the precise illumination range can be controlled within a few dozen meters.

Wu explained that his team started to test years ago and finally, the technology has matured. The idea of reflecting sunlight isn’t new, however. It originated in France where an artist thought of placing a necklace filled with mirrors above Paris to provide a source of light all year long.

The idea originated in France where an artist thought of placing a necklace filled with mirrors above Paris — Unsplash Chinese city to build "artificial moon"
The idea of an artificial moon originated in France where an artist thought of placing a necklace filled with mirrors above Paris — Unsplash

Critics have raised concerns that the light might disrupt animal behavioural patterns in the area. However, according to director of the Institute of Optics, School of Aerospace, Harbin Institute of Technology, Kang Weimin, the light would be similar to dusk. It means that said light shouldn’t upset animal routines.

Wu’s team hasn’t revealed the exact design of the new moon. He commented on the progress at a national mass innovation and entrepreneurship activity held in Chengdu on Oct. 10.

The original article was published on The Daintily.