Chinese City Wants to Launch Artificial Moon

Company says it could replace streetlights
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 18, 2018 2:22 AM CDT

(Newser) – One moon apparently isn't enough for the Chinese city of Chengdu, according to a report in the People's Daily. Wu Chunfeng, the chairman of the southwestern city's Aerospace Science and Technology Microelectronics System Research Institute, told a recent conference that an "artificial moon," also known as an illumination satellite, will be ready to launch in 2020, the Daily reports. He said the satellite would be able to illuminate the city with eight times the brightness of the real moon, eliminating the need for streetlights.

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Wu said that with its reflective coating, the satellite would be able to reflect sunlight on an area up to 50 square miles in diameter, the Telegraph reports. He said the satellite has been in the testing phase for years. It's not clear whether the project has full government approval, though Wu's company is the main contractor for China's space program, the Guardian reports. Similar projects on a smaller scale have experienced a degree of success, including the Russian Znamya satellite experiment in the 1990s, which created a bright spot 3 miles wide that moved across the Earth for hours. (Beijing is considering setting up a base on the real moon.)

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