According to many news sources, China is planning to launch ‘artificial moon’ satellites in the next couple of years, which they claim will light up major cities and eliminate the need for street lights, saving them hundreds of millions per year in electricity costs.
Here’s the story from Time magazine: China Plans Artificial Moons.
Here’s the problem: I don’t dee how this plan passes a basic smell test. For example, they say the four satellites will be in a 500km orbit. That means they will orbit the earth about once every 2 hours, and their time over a city will be measured in minutes - about like an Iridium satellite. How in heck is that supposed to provide constant light over a city at night?
There are a number of other issues with this idea, but let’s start here. Would anyone like to critique my critique? I keep thinking I’m missing something since this is written up in articles all over the world and I have yet to see anyone make this point. On the other hand, the state of science reporting is execrable, and people still keep writing breathless articles about Hyperloop, so maybe no one has actually bothered to think this through?
It makes me wonder if this story is cover for a military or spy satellite, and gullible reporters are accepting it without question.