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posted by chromas on Friday October 19 2018, @01:28AM   Printer-friendly
from the Checkmate,-moon-believers! dept.

Who needs street lights? Chinese city plans fake moon

In Chengdu, there is reportedly an ambitious plan afoot for replacing the city's street lights: boosting the glow of the real moon with that of a more powerful fake one.

The capital of the southwestern Chinese province of Sichuan plans to launch an illumination satellite in 2020. According to an article in People's Daily, the artificial moon is "designed to complement the moon at night", though it would be eight times as bright. The "dusk-like glow" of the satellite would be able to light an area with a diameter of between 10 and 80km (six to 50 miles), while the precise illumination range could be controlled within tens of metres – enabling it to replace street lights.

The vision was shared by Wu Chunfeng, the chairman of the private space contractor Chengdu Aerospace Science and Technology Microelectronics System Research Institute Co (Casc), at a national mass innovation and entrepreneurship event held in Chengdu last week. Wu reportedly said testing had begun on the satellite years ago and the technology had now evolved enough to allow for launch in 2020. It is not clear whether the plan has the backing of the city of Chengdu or the Chinese government, though Casc is the main contractor for the Chinese space programme.

Also at The Guardian and Inverse.

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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by bradley13 on Friday October 19 2018, @07:20AM (4 children)

    by bradley13 (3053) on Friday October 19 2018, @07:20AM (#750818) Homepage Journal

    Why? What is the fetish people have about completely lighting up their cities at night? Local, on-demand lighting - sure. Generally turning night into day - WTF?

    This article appeared on the green site, and one commenter did a very believable analysis []. Put the thing in geo-sync orbit, and it's basically a thin-film, spinning mirror. Entirely achievable.

    Aside from the technical aspects, there are two big concerns:

    - Light pollution. Even if focused on a particular city, atmospheric scatters (and clouds) will disperse the light over a huge region. This will affect a huge area.

    - Effects on wildlife. TFA gives lip service to this, but really, there's no way to know what the effect would be.

    This is China, though. The Chinese government frankly doesn't care about anyone else's concerns.

    Everyone is somebody else's weirdo.
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  • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 19 2018, @11:45AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 19 2018, @11:45AM (#750867)

    If they can properly move it around it would be in high demand for disaster relief. Usually the disasters knocks out most electricity/lighting, as such relief workers stop at night if it's to dark. This thing would be golden for that.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 19 2018, @01:48PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 19 2018, @01:48PM (#750913)

    People light up the cities at night to prevent crime.

  • (Score: 2) by PiMuNu on Friday October 19 2018, @02:01PM (1 child)

    by PiMuNu (3823) on Friday October 19 2018, @02:01PM (#750918)

    Stops vampires. Nuff said.

    • (Score: 2) by bob_super on Friday October 19 2018, @09:55PM

      by bob_super (1357) on Friday October 19 2018, @09:55PM (#751170)

      But the epidemic of Werewolves is a bit of an issue.