Chinese City Wants to Launch Artificial Moon

The Long March-5 Y2 rocket takes off from Wenchang Satellite Launch Center in Wenchang Hainan Province China

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With an ultra-bright full moon each and every night, the city would then be in for serious savings on their monthly electric bills, or at least that appears to be the rationale for the ambitious project.

In the latest completely bonkers idea to come out of China, the city of Chengdu is apparently planning to launch an "artificial moon" which would effectively make street lights obsolete. He said the satellite would be able to illuminate the city with eight times the brightness of the real moon, eliminating the need for streetlights.

Wu Chunfeng, chairman of Chengdu Aerospace Science and Technology Microelectronics System Research Institute, made the announcement at a recent conference and said the new moon could replace some street lights.

Wu explained that the testing of the illumination satellite started years ago and now the technology has finally matured.

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Officials said it could be controlled to light up an area up to 50 miles wide and said the idea was the brainchild of a French artist.

People's Daily was quick to reassure those concerned about the fake moon's impact on nighttime wildlife.

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. A similar project was unveiled by Russian Federation in the 1990s, with the launch of a solar reflecting system - a "space mirror" - meant to produce light "equivalent to three to five full moons" covering an area approximately 3 miles (5 kilometers) in diameter, the New York Times reported in 1993. The Telegraph's Joseph Archer reports that Russian scientists launched a mirror-equipped spacecraft created to brighten Siberia's sun-deprived streets back in 1999.

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