Chinese city plans 'artificial moon' to light up skies

Pablo Tucker
October 19, 2018

Officials in the city hope the artificial moon will bring in more tourists once it is in the sky.

According to plans, the verification of launch, orbit injection, unfolding, illumination, adjust and control of the manmade moon will be completed by 2020, the daily reported, quoting Wu Chunfeng, head of Tianfu New District System Science Research Institute in Chengdu in China's southwest Sichuan province.


The artificial or manmade moon is a satellite carrying a huge space mirror, which can reflect the sunlight to the Earth.

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 state media outlet claims that the fake moon would be able to light up an area with a diameter of 10 to 80 kilometers with officials on the ground able to focus all that the illumination on Chengdu.


The People's Daily report credited the idea to "a French artist, who imagined hanging a necklace made of mirrors above the Earth which could reflect sunshine through the streets of Paris all year round". However, an expert told the People's Daily that the artificial moon's light shouldn't be so bright that it would impact them.

Kang Weimin, director of the Harbin Institute of Technology's School of Aerospace, refutes these concerns, telling Calenne that the satellite will produce a dusk-like glow far too faint to transform night into day. If the effort is successful, it would likely mean the city would have the equivalent of a full moon every night rather than just at certain times of the month.


In 1999, a Russian experiment to deploy a large mirror in space created to function like an artificial moon was unsuccessful after it failed to unfold properly.

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