Not happy with what you’ve got? Get yourself a new one! That’s the way of the modern world, my friend.
Usually this applies to small things; clothes, phones, shoes, boyfriends etc. Some people in China however are thinking a bit bigger.
Officials in the southwestern city of Chengdu want to install their own moon to illuminate the night skies.
Dubbed an ‘illumination satellite’, the fake moon is said to be eight times brighter than the real moon and, when it’s installed in 2020, will cast a ‘dusk-like glow’ over the region.
According to Wu Chunfeng, chairman of Chengdu Aerospace Science and Technology Microelectronics System Research Institute, the new moon will be bright enough to replace street lights, and is designed to complement the real moon at night.
The ‘illumination satellite’ will be able to light an area with a diameter of 10 to 80 kilometres, with the precise illumination range being able to be controlled within a few dozen metres, according to People’s Daily.
The artificial moon was inspired by a French artist, who imagined hanging ‘a necklace made of mirrors’ above the Earth, in order to reflect sunshine through the streets of Paris.
Wu Chunfeng said testing of the satellite started years ago, and the technology has finally caught up to be able to put the idea into practice.
However, some people have already expressed concern with the project, saying it would have a negative impact on the routine of animals, as well as interrupting astronomical observations.
Kang Weimin, director of the Institute of Optics, School of Aerospace, Harbin Institute of Technology, said the light coming from the false moon is a ‘dusk-like glow’, and so shouldn’t disrupt animals.
Last year, a team of scientists from Russia attempted something similar by deploying what they called ‘the brightest object in the night sky, after the moon’.
Know as the Mayak satellite, it was launched from Baikonur spaceport in July 2017. Despite criticism from many astronomers, who emphasised the importance of keeping the night skies dark, the launch went ahead.
After the launch, scientists and amateur astronomers claimed to be able to see the satellite making its journey around the Earth. However, fortunately for the naysayers, a few weeks later, the team behind the project revealed the solar reflector failed to deploy once the satellite was in orbit.
In other (real) moon news, NASA finally shut down the moon landing conspiracy theories once and for all. Though I doubt it’ll stop some people.
Despite all the research NASA has undertaken and the evidence provided, various individuals and groups have alleged NASA, in association with other organisations, faked the moon landings, knowingly misleading the public and destroying much evidence in the process.
The conspiracists all have their different stories of what really happened and these ideas are still popular in 2018.
However, NASA’s chief historian Bill Barry recently told UNILAD, at the time of the Landings back in 1969, NASA simply didn’t have the technology to fake it. They just did the real thing instead.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.