China to illuminate its city with artificial moon

China has unveiled plans to do away with streetlights. By 2020, the city of Chengdu will be illuminated with “artificial moon”, according to Wu Chunfeng, chairman of Chengdu City Aerospace Science and Technology Microelectronics System Research Institute.

The testing of the technology, which started years ago, is now ready, according to Chunfeng. The city’s streetlights will be replaced with satellite that will boost the glow of the real moon.

The artificial moon, which is said to be eight times brighter than the real moon, will be able to light an area within a diameter up to 80 kilometres. Meanwhile, the precise illumination range can be controlled within a few dozen meters.

Chunfeng said the man-made moon will have a coating that can reflect light from the sun with solar panel-like wings, adding that the angles of these wings can then be adjusted to allow the light to focus on a precise location.

However, the exact details of the spacecraft, the launch date and how the artificial moon would be maintained were not revealed.

Joseph Maurice Ogu

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