“Artificial moon” to light up Chengdu? Is it going to happen?



Southwestern China’s city of Chengdu plans to launch its illumination satellite, also known as the “artificial moon”, in 2020, to “complement the moon at night”.

The brightness of the “artificial moon” is eight times that of the real moon, and will be bright enough to replace street lights, said Wu Chunfeng, chairman of Chengdu Aerospace Science and Technology Microelectronics System Research Institute Co., Ltd.

The satellite will be able to light an area with a diameter of 10 to 80 kilometers, while the precise illumination range can be controlled within a few dozen meters, Wu said, at a national mass innovation and entrepreneurship activity held in Chengdu on Oct 10.

The illumination satellite is designed to complement the moon at night, he added.

The idea of the “artificial moon” came from 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.

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

Some people expressed concern that the lights reflected from space could have adverse effects on the daily routine of certain animals and astronomical observation.

Kang Weimin, director of the Institute of Optics, School of Aerospace, Harbin Institute of Technology, explained that the light of the satellite is similar to a dusk-like glow, so it should not affect animals’ routines.

Netizens are skeptical whether the “artificial moon” will become true, or is simply another mare’s nest.

“Like all crazy announcements coming from China, this is never going to happen, and is just announced to fuel the ‘Innovative China’ PR campaign and generate buzz,” a netizen who named “David” posted on People’s Daily, referring to Batie Bus, the once pursued “elevated bus” invention.

Batie Bus has been promoted as a way help ease traffic congestion. Its design features an elevated passenger compartment that straddles the road below, allowing vehicles to pass underneath.

A high-profile road test was conducted in August 2016 in the city of Qinhuangdao, in north China’s Hebei Province, to evaluate the braking system, drag, and power consumption of the bus.

However, a spate of reports have questioned the project’s financing. Its developer Huayingkailai was reported to be an online lending company at high risk of default.

In July 2017, Beijing police said Huayingkailai was suspected of illegal fund-raising.

Police received information that company was engaged in illegal fund-raising activities. 32 suspects were arrested.




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