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China to launch its own ‘artificial moon’ to light up streets

BEIJING: A Chinese city is planning to launch an artificial moon by 2020 to replace streetlights, a Chinese daily reported.

Chengdu, a city in southwest China’s Sichuan province, announced earlier this week that it was planning to launch an “illumination satellite” also known as artificial moon by 2020.

It would have eight times more light than the real deal, reported the Peoples’ Daily.

The illumination satellite is designed to complement the moon at night, said Wu Chunfeng, chairman of Chengdu Aerospace Science and Technology Microelectronics System Research Institute Co., Ltd.

The satellite will be able to light an area with a diameter of 10 to 80 kilometers, while the precise illumination range can be controlled within a few dozen meters.

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.

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

Some people expressed concern that the lights reflected from space could have adverse effects on the daily routine of certain animals and astronomical observation.

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.

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