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China is planning to launch its own 'artificial moon' by 2020 to replace streetlamps and lower electricity costs in urban areas, state media reported Friday. Chengdu, a city in southwestern Sichuan province, is developing "illumination satellites" which will shine in tandem with the real moon, but are eight times brighter, according to China Daily.
The first man-made moon will launch from Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan, with three more to follow in 2022 if the first test goes well, said Wu Chunfeng, head of Tian Fu New Area Science Society, the organization responsible for the project.
Though the first launch will be experimental, the 2022 satellites "will be the real deal with great civic and commercial potential," he said in an interview with China Daily.
By reflecting light from the sun, the satellites could replace streetlamps in urban areas, saving an estimated 1.2 billion yuan (USD 170 million) a year in electricity costs for Chengdu, if the man-made moons illuminate an area of 50 square kilometers.
In addition to Tian Fu New Area Science Society, other universities and institutes, including the Harbin Institute of Technology and China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp, are involved in developing Chengdu's illumination satellites.
As China's space programme races to catch up with that of the United States and Russia, a number of ambitious projects are in the pipeline, including the Chang'e-4 lunar probe - named after the moon goddess in Chinese mythology - which aims to launch later this year. If it succeeds, it will be the first rover to explore the "dark side" of the moon.
originally posted by: TerryMcGuire
a reply to: bananashooter
I agree. Just how much light could be reflected down to a specific location could be produced from a small statlite. The moon is huge and offers reflected light to the earth. How huge might these satalites be to offer any light to earth at all. Might they have magnifying lenses? Might they be ''space flashlights'' beaming at those cities? Man it makes no sense.
What does make sense is that they could be lazers set to beam focused energy as a weapon with just a little change of targeting. Switch from proving a dim light from way up in the sky for a couple of cities to high powered weapons that could target anywhere on earth.
Yeah, to me this whole issue stinks.