Au natural: Earth’s Moon as seen from the International Space Station.
Credit: NASA/ESA

Human-made moons to reflect sunlight to Earth are on the table according to a Chinese researcher.

A trio of the artificial moons would be lofted in 2022, placed in space to divide the 360-degree orbital plane, thereby illuminating an area on the planet 24/7.

Shine a light on me

The idea is espoused by Wu Chunfeng, head of Tianfu New District System Science Research Institute in Chengdu, Southwest China’s Sichuan province, and advanced in China’s Science and Technology Daily.

Wu’s vision is that reflected sunlight can cover an area of 3,600 square kilometers to 6,400 square kilometers, and the illumination intensity is expected to be eight times of natural moonlight.

Mock moon

In a story carried by Ecns.cn, the official English-language website of China News Service, Wu said the mock Moon is expected to be placed in an orbit within 310 miles (500 kilometers) from Earth.

The Ecns.cn posting explains that the moonlight can be adjusted in light intensity and the area on Earth illuminated can be controlled within scores of meters.

“Using man-made moon to illuminate an area 50 square kilometers can save 1.2 billion yuan of electric charge,” Wu explains in the article. “It can also illuminate blackout areas when natural disasters such as earthquake happen.”

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