China to replace streetlights with artificial moon by 2020

China to replace streetlights with artificial moon by 2020

Wu Chunfeng, chairman of Chengdu Aerospace Science and Technology Microelectronics System Research Institute, made the announcement at a recent conference and said the new moon could replace some street lights.

Wu estimated Chengdu could save around US$1.2 billion (S$239.9 million) yuan in electricity annually if the artificial moon illuminated 50 sq km of the city.

Mr Chunfeng said that the artificial moon will produce at least eight times more light than the real moon.

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

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Wu said they have been testing the illumination satellite for years, and they now feel it will be ready to launch in two years. The city also believes that tourists would be more likely to visit and see how the moon works during the night, according to the report. But little is known about the height, size and true brightness of the proposed artificial moon - all of which are factors that could affect its visibility to distant observers. If it succeeds, it will be the first rover to explore the "dark side" of the moon. Giulio Calenne of Chinese commerce outlet CIFnews writes that the idea has raised concerns amongst those who fear the artificial light could have adverse effects on wildlife and astronomical observation.

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

State media reports were quick to dispel any potential worries about what sort of damage the project could do to the environment, quoting an expert as explaining that the light of the satellite would be "similar to a dusk-like glow" and so should not throw off animals' routines.

In 1999, a Russian experiment to deploy a large mirror in space created to function like an artificial moon was unsuccessful after it failed to unfold properly.