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China to Launch World's First Artificial Moon in 2020 to Replace Streetlights

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The Man-made Moon
The Chinese Government through it's state media have announced that The China's space industry is preparing to launch the world's first artificial moon to to illuminate the night skies.

China plans to put an artificial moon in orbit above Chengdu, capital of Sichuan province, from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in Sichuan, by 2020. If the launch proves successful, three more such objects will be launched in 2022, Mr Wu Chunfeng, head of Tian Fu New Area Science Society in Chengdu, told the China Daily in an exclusive interview on Thursday October 18, 2018.

Mr Chunfeng, The artificial moon will have a reflective coating that can deflect sunlight back to Earth, similar to how the moon shines.

The man-made moon is essentially an illumination satellite designed to complement the moon at night, though it is predicted to be eight times brighter, the scientist added.

Mr Wu Chunfeng, chairman of Chengdu Aerospace Science and Technology Microelectronics System Research Institute Co. Ltd. (CASC) said, "this is due to the fact that the object is planned to orbit about 500km above Earth, which is much closer than the 380,000km distance to the moon".

"But this is not enough to light up the entire night sky," he said. "Its expected brightness, in the eyes of humans, is around one-fifth of normal street lights", He said.
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World's First Artificial Moon
The artificial moon might replace some street lights in the urban area, thus conserving energy.
Meanwhile, the extraterrestrial source of light can shine into disaster zones during blackouts, thus aiding relief and rescue efforts, he added.

"We will only conduct our tests in an uninhabited desert, so our light beams will not interfere with any people or Earth-based space observation equipment," he said. "When the satellite is in operation, people will see only a bright star above, and not a giant moon as imagined".

However, Mr Wu stressed that much work still needs to be done, both in terms of scientific feasibility and business models, to tap the full potential of China's artificial moons.

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