China is reportedly planning to launch its own artificial moon that could replace the need for streetlights.
Plans have been unveiled by the city of Chengdu that will see the city’s streetlights replaced by the glow of a ‘real moon’.
The artificial moon in question will be able to light an area with a diameter of 10 to 80 kilometres.
Wu Chunfeng, chairman of Chengdu aerospace science and technology microelectronics system research institute, announced the news at a national mass innovation and entrepreneurship activity held in Chengdu.
The illumination satellite is designed to compliment the moon at night, with its brightness said to be eight times that of the real moon.
The idea of the “artificial moon” came from a French artist, who imagined hanging a necklace made of mirrors above the earth, which could reflect sunshine through the streets of Paris all year round.
Testing of the artificial moon has been in place for some years now but the technology has ‘finally matured’ according to Wu.
Some concerns have been raised that the artificial light could have a negative impact on the routine of certain animals in the area.
Kang Weimin, director of the Institute of Optics, School of Aerospace, Harbin Institute of Technology, explained that the light of the satellite is similar to a dusk-like glow, so it should not affect animals’ routines.
The manmade moon will have a coating that can reflect light from the sun with solar panel-like wings.