Chinese City Plans to Launch an ‘Artificial Moon’ By 2020 to Help Save Electricity

Chengdu, the capital of China’s Sichuan province, just announced its rather outrageous plan to help save electricity by launching an illumination satellite that will light up the city, which they have dubbed as an “artificial moon.”

The plan was announced to the public by Wu Chunfeng, chairman of Chengdu Aerospace Science and Technology Microelectronics System Research Institute Co., Ltd, during the national mass innovation and entrepreneurship activity held in the city on Oct. 10, People’s Daily reported.

via Wikimedia Commons / Daniel Ramirez (CC BY 2.0)

This project could potentially make street lights obsolete as the “artificial moon” can produce eight times the light that the real moon emits at night. It will cover a diameter of 10 to 80 kilometers with a fully controlled, precise illumination range of a few dozen meters.

Wu and his company had already began testing the satellite years ago, according to Shanghaiist. He went on to note that the project has fully matured since then and is now prepared for a 2020 launch.

However, some officials expressed concern over the possibility that the illumination produced by the “artificial moon” could pose adverse effects on the circadian rhythms of certain animals. But an expert on the matter, Kang Weimin, director of the Institute of Optics, School of Aerospace at the Harbin Institute of Technology, explained that the light produced by the satellite will be “similar to a dusk-like glow” that should not have any effect on animals’ daily routines.

The “artificial moon” project was inspired by the idea — originally envisioned by a French artist — of a mirror necklace hanging above the planet that would reflect the light of the sun through the streets of Paris, the report noted.

Featured image via toutiaoabc

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