Chinese engineers decided to put an artificial moon into the orbit which would reflect the Sun’s light and beam light down to a city which would be always illuminated through moonlight.

Full moon over Chengdu
Full moon over Chengdu, the Chinese city with 4 million inhabitants.

( — November 6, 2018) — Everybody loves a romantic walk during the night illuminated by a full moon. The only problem is that the full moon occurs roughly once in a month.

Chinese engineers decided to put an artificial moon into Earth’s orbit which would reflect the Sun’s light and beam light down to a city which would always be illuminated with moonlight.

According to China Daily, the Chinese want the city in question to be Chengdu, the capital of the province of Sichuan, which usually has close to four million inhabitants. The satellite will therefore float in the low orbit, some 500 kilometers above the city, and dispel the darkness in the streets, thus saving energy, and money.

When the natural moon is in the sky, their combined glow will be eight times stronger than it is when there is no artificial one. And this should be done by 2020. And two years after that, the sky will be richer for another three artificial Moons that will be installed to redirect sun’s light.

The advantage of these artificial moons, alongside Earth’s natural one is that they can be turned off, or pointed to another place where light is needed. But the main thing is that in the month of January, the costs for electricity will drastically decrease.

The artificial moon could, in the first phase, illuminate a surface of over 30 square miles, which would save as much as 1.2 billion yuan, which in US dollars is equivalent to 174 million per year. Three artificial moons would have a much higher power and would cover 3,500 light and even over 6,000 square kilometers.

The problem is, according to some, the circadian rhythm of people and animals to sleep in the dark. They are afraid that a constant light at night could disturb them. But planners do not expect more disapproval. They will test the light in an uninhabited area (which China has in abundance) in order to determine all the possible positive and negative effects. Moreover, in the sky, the artificial moon will not be as great as the natural one. From the Earth, the artificial moon will look just like another star.

Although China may become the first country to use satellites to distribute the Sun’s energy illuminating cities at night, the original idea was forged in Russia in the mid 90’s. Officially, Russian scientists abandoned the plan after problems with one satellite. However, there could be another reason. The satellite will probably never work, says Ryan Russell, an associate professor of aerospace engineering at the University of Texas, Austin. According to Russell, a satellite flying low enough to deliver that much light wouldn’t be able to stay in one place.