China plans to launch an ‘artificial moon’

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Artificial Moon

A city in China is planning to launch an ‘artificial moon’ that will light up the skies as far as 50 miles around.

It’s supposedly all set to happen in the city of Chengdu in 2020.  The so-called illumination satellite is said to be eight times as bright as the real moon, and it will cast a ‘dusk-like glow’ over the area.

So far, very few details have been released on the project.  But officials will say that the idea comes from a French artist who envisioned a necklace of mirrors hanging over Earth.

Wu Chunfend, chairman of Chengdu Aerospace Science and Technology Microelectronics System Research Institute Co., Ltd, recently revealed the plan.  He say the artificial moon will simply complement the real moon and make the night skies brighter, which could potentially replace conventional streetlights.  The artificial moon can be controlled so that it can light up anywhere from 6 to 50 miles.

As you can imagine… when this plan was announced, there have been many skeptics.  But Wu claims that the technology has been in the works for years and is nearly ready to go.

Also, some skeptics and concerned citizens say the light will have adverse effects on animals and astronomical observation.  But again…  officials argue that the light will only amount to a ‘dusk-like glow.’

Now while this story definitely caught my attention, it turns out that this isn’t even the first time that humans have tried to launch a light-reflecting object into the sky.  Only thing is…  these plans only ended in failure.

Just last year, a Russian team attempted to deploy what was touted to become the ‘brightest object in the night sky, after the moon.’  The Mayak satellite was launched despite backlash.  Many astronomers said the night skies should stay dark.

Well, weeks after the launch, the team behind the project admitted the solar reflector failed.

Now I don’t know about you but when it comes to my sleep environment, even the tiniest bit of extra light can cause a problem for me.  Yes, you can block out the outside light…  but it’s hard to believe that there wouldn’t be more negative effects than positive.  Pretty or not…  I have a feeling many see this idea as simply an April’s fools joke… one to stick it where the sun don’t shine ;-).  

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