Chengdu plans to launch ‘artificial moon’ into space to save on electricity

The Long March-5 Y2 rocket takes off from Wenchang Satellite Launch Center in Wenchang Hainan Province China

China plans to put an artificial moon in orbit above Chengdu, capital of Sichuan province, from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in Sichuan by 2020.

However, the exact details of the spacecraft, the launch date and how the artificial moon would be maintained were not revealed.

Other users invoked Hou Yi, from Chinese mythology, who shot down nine suns, to come and shoot down the extra moon.

"Wu introduced that the brightness of the "artificial moon" is eight times that of the real moon, and will be bright enough to replace street lights", the paper reported.

This info all comes via Wu Chunfeng, the chairman of Chengdu Aerospace Science and Technology Microelectronics System Research Institute Co., who spoke last week at an innovation and entrepreneurship conference in Chengdu. He said preliminary testing is now complete, and the satellite should be ready for launch by 2020, according to state media this week.

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Some expressed concerns about light pollution and potentially negative impact on animals. If all goes well, the fake moon will produce enough light to replace Chengdu's street lamps.

Officials said it could be controlled to light up an area up to 50 miles wide and said the idea was the brainchild of a French artist.

The moon will orbit the city at a height of 500 kilometers, and will be one of three artificial moons sent into space over the next four years.

In the 1990s, Russian scientists reportedly used giant mirrors to reflect light from space in an experimental project called Znamya or Banner.

Kang Weimin, director of the Institute of Optics, School of Aerospace, Harbin Institute of Technology, tells People's Daily that "the light of the satellite is similar to a dusk-like glow, so it should not affect animals' routines". The Telegraph's Joseph Archer reports that Russian scientists launched a mirror-equipped spacecraft created to brighten Siberia's sun-deprived streets back in 1999.

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