In south-western China plans to launch an illumination satellite by 2020, which will replace streetlights.
The illumination satellite or the artificial moon is designed to ‘complement the moon at night’ though its brightness will be far stronger (at least eight times more bright than moon), according to reports in the People’s Daily. The project will illuminate the street areas with a diameter range of 10-80 km, and it would be controlled within tens of meters, according to the report of People’s Daily.
The news was announced by Wu Chunfeng, the chairman of the private space contractor Chengdu Aerospace Science and Technology Microelectronics System Research Institute Co (Casc), at a national mass innovation and entrepreneurship event held in Chengdu, China during the second week of October 2018.
According to Wu, the testing of the project has already started and the technology evolved enough to enable them for launching the satellite in 2020. Casc is the main contractor of the artificial moon project. However, the association of Chinese government in this project has not been disclosed yet.
As per the People’s Daily, the idea of ‘fake moon’ first originated and is credited to a ‘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”.
Previously, researchers in Russia launched a satellite into space that deflected sunlight to Earth in the 1990s. Other attempts such as Znamya experiment, which was launched to test the feasibility of illuminating points on Earth with light equivalent to that of several full moons, as per the New York Times, failed in its attempt. However, technological innovations in the recent times could let people except the likeliness of an artificial moon glowing the darkness in the near future.