That’s no moon, it’s a Chinese space light

Brittany A. Roston - Oct 17, 2018, 2:00 pm CDT
That’s no moon, it’s a Chinese space light

A Chinese aerospace company has announced an ambitious plan to launch a fake moon into orbit in 2020. The plans were reportedly revealed by the Chengdu Aerospace Science and Technology Microelectronics System Research Institute Co. at a Chinese innovation and entrepreneurship event that took place last week.

The announcement was made by the aerospace company’s chairman Wu Chunfeng, according to Chinese publication The company says it will be launching an “illumination satellite” in less than two years, this designed to light up the night sky with artificial light 8 times greater than the actual Moon.

According to Wu, the company started testing this satellite years ago, having developed the technology sufficiently enough for it to be launched. The fake moon will supposedly be able to light up an area up to about 50 miles in diameter, and also be remotely controllable for light precision.

Of course, artificial lighting is already a contentious issue — potential annoyances at the loss of a night sky aside, these lights have the potential to negatively impact human health, animal routines, and make life harder for astronomers.

Kang Weimin, director of a public research university in China, claimed the “illumination satellite” isn’t bright enough to disrupt wildlife, instead being akin to “a dusk-like glow.” Though skeptics have expressed doubt over whether the company will ever actually launch such a device, it does again raise questions over whether it is wise to fill the night sky with artificial lights.


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