China is going to launch an artificial 'moon' to light up cities

The south-western Chinese city of Chengdu is planning on launching a fake moon into space in hopes of it illuminating the entire country.

The project is set to be completed in 2020 and, according to People’s Daily, the artificial moon is “designed to complement the moon at night”.

The fake moon’s glow is predicted to light up an area with a diameter of 10-80km; with its precise illumination range being controlled within a few dozen meters, making it eight times as bright as the real moon.

CLICK ON THE SUN FOR MORE

The artificial moon’s brightness will be enough to entirely replace street lights.

The project was introduced to the public by Wu Chunfeng, chairman of Chengdu Aerospace Science and Technology Microelectronics System Research Institute Co., Ltd.

Wu made the announcement at a national mass innovation and entrepreneurship activity held in Chengdu on October 10.

Wu explained that the testing of the illumination satellite started years ago, and now the technology has finally matured.

The project has sparked concern from the public, as many began to worry that the lights reflected from space could affect the daily routines of certain animals.

Kang Weimin, director of the Institute of Optics, School of Aerospace, Harbin Institute of Technology, assured that the light of the satellite is similar to a dusk-like glow, so it should not affect animals’ routines.

The cost of the project has not yet been announced.

A similar project was planned by Russian researchers in 1999, as plans were made to use orbiting mirrors to light up cities in Siberia, hoping it would be a cheaper alternative to electric lighting.

The scheme developed by Russia used a device called Znamya 2. It was equipped with a 25-meter mirror to illuminate a three-mile-wide patch of land.

During its first orbit the craft was destroyed following a collision in space. The scheme was abandoned, reported the Telegraph.

This story originally appeared in The Sun.