Prelims cum Mains Science & Tech

China Plans to launch an ‘Artificial Moon’ to light up the Night Skies

The News

  • China is planning to launch 3 artificial moons in space to supplement street lights at night.

 

Key Highlights

  • The first of the 3 artificial moons is set to be launched into orbit by 2020.
  • The artificial man-made moon will orbit 500 km above the city of Chengdu, the capital of China’s southwestern Sichuan province.
  • As a result of being close to the earth the artificial moon it will be 8 times more luminous than the moon.

 

How will it work?

  • The artificial moon will work on the same principle as moon.
  • It essentially is an illuminated satellite. Thus it will reflect the sunlight to earth.
  • The space mirror with a reflective coating is thus present which will cast sunlight to Earth.
  • The reflected sun light can cover an area of 3,600 sq km to 6,400 sq km.

 

Issue

  • The artificial moon may interrupt the normal day-night cycle of animals and plants.
  • A similar effort by the US called “Humanity Star” was criticized for contributing to artificial light pollution and cluttering in Earth’s orbit.

 

Other efforts of artificial moon

  • Earlier the US and Russia have explored man-made moon.
  • In the 1990s, Russia carried out an experiment called Banner with idea of using a mirror to reflect the sun light to Earth.
  • However the mirror failed to unfold in space and the experiment was halted.

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