The Chinese city of Chengdu will launch in 2020 a satellite capable of emitting a brightness 8 times higher than the Moon, locating it almost 500 kilometers from the Earth
China's technological advances are about to set a world precedent, as the Asian country is planning to launch the first artificial moon in history. It would be a high power lighting satellite that would be capable of emitting a brightness superior to that of the Moon.
Leer en español: China desafía al espacio: ¡construirá su propia luna!
According to China Daily, the satellite will be sent into space in the year 2020 and will be placed in orbit over the city of Chengdu, a city of Sichuan Province, from where the artificial moon will be sent through the Satellite Launch Center of Xichang.
According to Wu Chunfeng, head of the responsible organization, the Tian Fu New Area Science Society, the satellite's operating system is similar to the Moon, because it will function as a reflective that can divert sunlight towards the Earth.
The work of the satellite will complement the illumination of the Moon during the night, reaching a brightness 8 times higher because the satellite will be located 500 kilometers above the earth, much closer than the Moon, located 380,000 kilometers above the earth. In the same way, the control over the satellite will be total, managing to change its location and the intensity, precision, and brightness coverage as desired.
It will not be the only artificial moon sent to space
This first lighting satellite will be sent and used experimentally since the big plan is to send three more satellites in 2022. "The first moon will be mostly experimental, but the three moons in 2022 will be the real business with great civic and commercial potential," Wu said in an interview with China Daily.
Similarly, Chunfeng assured that the three moons sent in 2022 would take turns to complete their work, although together they could illuminate an area of around 3,600 to 6,400 square kilometers on earth for 24 hours if desired.
It will mean millionaire savings and may have other uses
The purpose of the project is to complement the lighting function of the Moon at night, so many lanterns from the urban area of Chengdu city would no longer be necessary. According to El Pais, this Chinese city is the fifth most populous city in the country, and according to Wu's calculations could save up to 1.2 billion yuan (170 million dollars, 150 million euros) if the satellite works in an area of 50 square kilometers of the surface.
On the other hand, the satellite will be able to serve in rescue work, illuminating disaster areas that lack light, greatly enhancing rescue efforts. However, Chunfeng said that when the sky is cloudy the amount of light that will be received will not be the same.
Likewise, Wu cleared the doubt about the perception of the satellite from the Earth, moving away from the theory that it will be the same size as the Moon. "When the satellite is up and running, people will see only one bright star, not a giant moon as many imagine," Chunfeng said in an interview with China Daily.
Not everyone agrees with the satellite
The operation of the satellite, according to China Daily, has raised several detractors that argue possible physiological changes in people and animals, since the constant light would change metabolic processes such as sleep, among others. Similarly, it is argued that the astronomical studies of some scientists could be affected.
It is for this reason that the satellite will work in areas where it does not affect any living being. "We will only carry out our tests in a disabled desert so that our light rays do not interfere with any person or space observation team based on Earth," Wu said.
This ambitious plan will not only revolutionize space projects, but it will also trigger a partially unexplored market. The always enigmatic China is about to change our perception of the night forever.
LatinAmerican Post | Javier Aldana
Translated from "China desafía al espacio: ¡construirá su propia luna!"
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