Do you like it when at night the moon is shining in your window? The inhabitants of a city in South-West China are so turned on it that they want no other night illumination for their place. But since the moon is not always up to what is desirable, they resolved to launch an artificial moon.
According to Chinese news source The People’s Daily the city of Chengdu will have an artificial satellite sooner than one might think. However, the exact date of this heavenly wonder being put into use is not publicized; it will take place in or around 2020.
This, erm, the device is expected to throw light over an area ranging from 6 to 50 miles over the streets of the city. The light it will emit is going to be about eight times as bright as that of its big sister. The little moon is planned to be the first in a series: provided it will function as designed, Chengdu believes it may obviate all their street illumination.
The artificial satellite is going to have a coating and solar wings shaped like panels for catching and distributing light. The wings can turn thereby providing better illumination by covering extra dozens of meters. That is virtually everything that is known; other specifications are left unrevealed, as well as the cost of the project.
The idea is surely a fetching one, but there are doubts as to possible unexpected effects. Commenting on CIFnews, Giulio Calenne said that the artificial moon may affect wildlife and make astronomical observations more difficult.
Calenne’s objections were immediately overruled. Director of the Harbin Institute of Technology’s School of Aerospace Kang Weimin is sure none of it is going to happen. He holds that the glow emanated by the moon is not so strong as to produce a day-like effect unlikely to interfere with local wildlife.
Chengdu is expecting to revolutionize the life of the city: once it is overhung by an artificial moon, their electricity costs will come down, and tourists will be coming in crowds to try Chengdu nightlife by the glow of the unique illumination.
The project really has to be seen to be believed; also, while experts are arguing there may be certain hidden risks. But the idea is staggering!