Moon is the permanent natural satellite of the earth. The moon is in synchronous rotation with the earth, i.e. we always see the same side of the moon from the earth. This side is called nearer side of the moon. While the far side of the moon faces away from Earth and is relatively unexplored. It is also known as the dark side of the moon. A Chinese spacecraft made successful lending on the far side of the moon on 3rd January 2019. This is the first time that a spacecraft has been able to lend successfully on the far side of the moon. Now let’s get back to under the concept of Artificial Moon.

Is it really a moon or something else?

Artificial Moon is not really a moon, it is just a reflector. It will be a structure of mirrors which will reflect the sunlight back to the earth during the night. As per the reports, it will be installed at a height of 500 km. It will provide the light having an intensity of about eight times that of the real moon during the night. The concept behind the Artificial Moon is something like as shown in the figure below.

Artificial moon concept
Concept behind the Artificial moon

Why China is set to launch an Artificial Moon?

This is simply an alternative to streetlights that are used during the night. Electricity consumption is increasing day by day & to produce that we need to spend huge amount of money. Streetlights in big cities also causes light pollution. China is trying an alternative to reduce cost incurred on electricity production and light pollution.

This Artificial Moon will be able to provide lighting in the area of about 6 miles to 50 miles of diameter. Initially, the Artificial moon will light up the Chengdu city of China (to be launched in 2020) & if it will be successful, then three other such projects will be installed by 2022.

Is this project Viable?

Some experts have a view that it is not possible to install a mirror-like structure at a height of just 500 km. Even one-hundredth degree of error could change the place at which light is to be reflected. In addition to this, to keep this satellite fixed into the orbit, it will require a huge amount of fuel while savings fuel and energy is the ultimate reason behind launching it.

It will also disturb the normal life of people as well as other living creatures. Think about the situation if 100’s of such Artificial Moons are in the sky, will we be able to see the stars and the real moon?

Though details about the working of such an Artificial Moon will be with us when China will actually launch the Artificial Moon in 2020. Till then prepare well for your exams & get settled. We wish you all the best! 🙂

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