A Chinese city wants to launch an artificial moon into space so they can replace all their street lights with one single moonlight.
It sounds like the plot of a James Bond film, but shooting an artificial moon into space isn’t actually as insane as it first appears. We already have thousands of artificial moons (ie. satellites) circling the globe to provide us with all kinds of services. Launching one slightly larger satellite to provide more lighting at night isn’t entirely out of the question.
Chengdu, the capital of the Sichuan province, is proposing a novel solution to replace their street lights. Instead of wasting energy from dirty coal and gas plants to illuminate the city at night, why not launch a single artificial moon to light up the night sky? This would drastically cut the city’s carbon footprint, reduce China’s infamous smog problem, and even make the city more of a tourist destination.
According to the Asia Times, the proposed moon would be 8 times brighter than the current moon and would light a circular area of roughly 6 to 50 miles in diameter. The design for the moon has already been completed by the Chengdu Aerospace Science and Technology Microelectronics System Research Institute, with tests showing this as a feasible option to replace street lights.
The surface of the moon is coated in a highly reflective material, while solar panels will provide the satellite with enough power to maneuver.
Although Chengdu would be the primary focus for what is essentially an enormous mirror, the moon would be visible around the globe as a glowing white orb.
The exact specifications of the moon haven’t been released yet, nor has any spacecraft been announced to take such a moon into space. Clearance for such a craft would need to be provided by the International Telecommunication Union before it could be launched.
While an artificial moon would provide ample lighting for streets, some experts are concerned about the effect it might have on the internal clocks of local residents. If such a moon were to be launched, you’d bet that blackout blinds would adorn every apartment building for miles around Chengdu.