China is set to launch an “artificial moon” in 2020.
The news was announced by Wu Chunfeng, chairman of space contractor, Chengdu Aerospace Science and Technology Microelectronics System Research Institute Co (CASC), who stated that the artificial moon will aim to replace street lights.
The lighting satellite is designed to illuminate an 80km area by complementing the light of the moon. The device’s power will be eight-time stronger, enough to replace the street lights.
The artificial moon’s light will be focused on Chengdu, the capital of southwestern China’s Sichuan province. The city has a population of 14.43 million.
The artificial moon light will cast a dusk-like glow; however, some people have expressed concerns over the impact the artificial lighting could have on the daily routine of animals. Kang Weimin, director of the Institute of Optics, School of Aerospace at the Harbin Institute of Technology has asserted that the artificial moon lighting should not create any negative effects.
As China’s space programme becomes increasingly more powerful, it is also thought that China will join resources with Russia. Dmitry Rogozin, head of Russia’s space programme had commented on Channel One Russia, “The formation of a research station on the Moon’s surface is likely to be carried out with our Chinese partners.”