According to a state media report on Friday, China makes a plan to launch its own artificial moon by 2020 to cut down their electricity costs in urban areas.
Chengdu, a city in southwestern Sichuan is developing “illumination satellites” that will shine in tandem with the real moon, reported by China Daily.
The first artificial moon will launch from Xichang Satelite Launch Center in Sichuan, with three more to follow in 2022 if the first test goes well, said by Wu Chunfeng, the head of Tian Fu New Area Science Society, the organization responsible for the project.
However, the first launch will be experimental. Wu Chufeng also said in an interview with China Daily that the 2022 satellites will be the real deal with great civic and commercial potential.
By reflecting the light from the sun, the satellites could replace the streetlamps in urban areas. This project will save around an estimated 1.2 billion yuan (USD 170 million) a year that is the electricity cost of Chengdu. These artificial moons illuminate an area of 50 square kilometers.
The artificial moon could also help rescue effort in disaster zones during blackouts. AFP did not contact Wu Chunfeng nor Tian Fu news Area Science Society to confirm this report.
China’s space program races to catch the United State and Russia with a number of ambitious projects that are in the pipeline. In this year, they plan to launch the Chang’e-4 lunar prove that named after the moon goddess in Chinese mythology. If it achieves success, it will be the first rover to explore the ‘dark side’ of the moon.
But China is not the first that try to beam sunlight back to earth. In the 1990s, Russian scientists used the giant mirrors to reflect light from space. This experimental project is called Znamya or Banner.
Chengdu’s man-made moon project was announced by Wu Chunfeng at an entrepreneurship conference in Chengdu on October 10.
The Harbin Institute of Technology and China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp are also involved in developing Chengdu’s illumination satellites.
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