China to launch an 'artificial moon' into orbit by 2020

Cal Jeffrey

TS Evangelist
Staff member

Engineers in Chengdu are preparing “illumination satellites” to be launched into orbit, noted state-run media outlet People’s Daily on Friday. The first will launch from Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan, China in 2020. If successful, three more will follow in 2022. Development and testing of the satellites started several years ago but has only been finalized recently.

Wu Chunfeng, head of Tian Fu New Area Science Society, the organization responsible for the project says, once the project is complete the man-made moon will be eight-times brighter than the Moon. The luminosity should be enough to replace the streetlights in the 14,300-square-kilometer city of Chengdu.

According to engineers at the Chengdu Aerospace Science and Technology Microelectronics System Research Institute, Earth-based operators of the moon will have very precise control over the illumination. The radius of the reflected light will be adjustable from between 10 to 80 kilometers and can be directed to specific locations within a few dozen meters of accuracy. The city of Chengdu will be the moon’s primary focus.

All that is known about the satellites' functionality is that each will have a set of “wings” coated with a highly reflective material. These panels will be adjustable from the ground. The faux moon should easily be visible in China and other locations as a very bright star.

No further details of the spacecraft were released, and a specific launch date has not been announced other than sometime in 2020.

This is not the first time such an idea has been tried. In February 1999, Russia attempted to mount a giant 25-meter mirror on the Mir space station. However, the folding umbrella-like mirror got tangled with an antenna and was ruined.

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Reachable

TS Evangelist
First, being picky: Chengdu is 14300 square kilometers, not meters (of course).

If this thing is visible anywhere other than where its intended to be useful then there's going to be resistance. Otherwise it's a clever idea. I haven't read the linked-to article yet, but I'll believe it when I (hopefully don't) see it.
 

toooooot

TS Evangelist
I have read about Russians using Chinese parts for their satellites and the results were not very good--short life and things breaking often. I suggest that before they do that, they should first steal the technologies that will allow to build top quality space equipment and then proceed with their plans.
 

HyPeroxya

TS Enthusiast
Sounds very Plausible , but maybe they can focus that light to an even smaller area LIKE THE WHITE HOUSE. Imagine that going up in flames, just like those Ants you tortured when you were young.... It could have many uses maybe to help with forest fires , escaped convicts, natural (&unnatural) disasters , even enhanced solar power. The cappies wont like it.
 

gibbstar

TS Enthusiast
So much for dark skies in this region.

Will this not mess up photosynthesis of all the vegetation?
Maybe. It might mess up migrating birds and/or other critters, too.
So much for dark skies in this region.

Will this not mess up photosynthesis of all the vegetation?
Maybe. It might mess up migrating birds and/or other critters, too.
Yeah, all the poor nocturnal animals! But China has a long history of f’ing with wildlife, so not surprising.
https://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/animals/stories/amp/the-great-sparrow-campaign-was-the-start-of-the-greatest-mass
 
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Uncle Al

TS Evangelist
"The controllable moon could also be useful during disasters and blackout situations." AND even more useful in weapons strikes, surveillance, and if properly shielded and packed with highly contaminated waste - the worlds largest dirty bomb!
 
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Faplyboy

TS Enthusiast
Explain me how will they send soucha big circle in the space since it has to be extremely big to give enough light for whole city or town.
 

Reehahs

TS Guru
So much for dark skies in this region.

Will this not mess up photosynthesis of all the vegetation?
Maybe. It might mess up migrating birds and/or other critters, too.
So much for dark skies in this region.

Will this not mess up photosynthesis of all the vegetation?
Maybe. It might mess up migrating birds and/or other critters, too.
Yeah, all the poor nocturnal animals! But China has a long history of f’ing with wildlife, so not surprising.
https://www.mnn.com/earth-matters/animals/stories/amp/the-great-sparrow-campaign-was-the-start-of-the-greatest-mass
What wild life? Didn't everything get eaten during the revolutions?
 

Abraka

TS Addict
Can't believe I'm reading so many negative comments.
Are you all jealous?

If the United States did this, it would be like: "Amazing project, very ecological project to save energy, it could be reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the long run". This is freaking solar energy. Isn't everyone and his grandma swearing on solar energy? Well, this is it.

But since China is working on it, I read only negative, very stupid comments from butthurt people. Jealousy coming out from all pores. Incredible.
 
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wiyosaya

TS Evangelist
Can't believe I'm reading so many negative comments.
Are you all jealous?

If the United States did this, it would be like: "Amazing project, very ecological project to save energy, it could be reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the long run". This is freaking solar energy. Isn't everyone and his grandma swearing on solar energy? Well, this is it.

But since China is working on it, I read only negative, very stupid comments from butthurt people. Jealousy coming out from all pores. Incredible.
The current administration in the US has declared that there is no such thing as greenhouse gasses. What planet are you from anyway?
 
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J

Joe Blow

Can't believe I'm reading so many negative comments.
Are you all jealous?

If the United States did this, it would be like: "Amazing project, very ecological project to save energy, it could be reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the long run". This is freaking solar energy. Isn't everyone and his grandma swearing on solar energy? Well, this is it.

But since China is working on it, I read only negative, very stupid comments from butthurt people. Jealousy coming out from all pores. Incredible.
Yes, many lemmings in the U.S. would love it.
 
J

Joe Blow

China will have to go ahead and deploy first, to see why it was such a bad idea. Screwing with the environment to such a great deal. Light has more affect on us than many realize.