China Plans To Reduce Energy Costs Of City Lights By Launching An Artificial, Extra-Bright Moon

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In a move sounding straight out of a sci-fi paperback, China plans to launch the first artificial ‘moon’ into orbit to replace street lights and reduce energy costs.

China Plans To Reduce Energy Costs Of City Lights By Launching An Artificial, Extra-Bright Moon

In a move sounding straight out of a sci-fi paperback, China plans to launch the first artificial ‘moon’ into orbit to replace street lights and reduce energy costs.


Chinese scientists say the human-made moon, which is necessarily an illuminated satellite, will be in orbit by 2020. It'll be eight times brighter than Earth’s moon and shine down on the city of Chengdu, the southwestern Sichuan province's capital.


Hopefully, the innovation will replace the need for streetlights and reduce annual electricity costs by up to 1.2 billion yuan ($173 million).


Residents should not worry that it'll “light up the entire night sky,” Wu Chunfeng, chief of the Tian Fu New Area Science Society, said to China Daily. “Its expected brightness, in the eyes of humans, is around one-fifth of normal streetlights,” he said, adding that it could even assist emergency services during blackouts and natural disasters.


The ‘moon’ will only illuminate a 50-square-kilometer area, as it is much closer to Earth than the real moon. It'll sit about 500km (310 miles) away, compared to the moon’s 380,000km (236,000 miles).




If the project proves successful, China plans to launch three more moons around the country by 2022. “The first moon will be mostly experimental, but the three moons in 2022 will be the real deal with great civic and commercial potential,” Wu said.


Before it makes its city debut, however, the moon will have to be tested in an uninhabited desert so that its light beams don’t interfere with people or Earth-based space observation equipment.

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  1. Chinese scientists say the human-made moon, which is necessarily an illuminated satellite, will be in orbit by 2020. It'll be eight times brighter than Earth’s moon and shine down on the city of Chengdu, the southwestern Sichuan province's capital.

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Thinking Humanity: China Plans To Reduce Energy Costs Of City Lights By Launching An Artificial, Extra-Bright Moon
China Plans To Reduce Energy Costs Of City Lights By Launching An Artificial, Extra-Bright Moon
In a move sounding straight out of a sci-fi paperback, China plans to launch the first artificial ‘moon’ into orbit to replace street lights and reduce energy costs.
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