China to launch artificial ‘moon’ to reflect Sun-light during night

Chengdu – China is preparing to install artificial moons by 2020 to substitute street-lamps and to reduce electricity costs, Chinese state media reported on Friday.

The ‘artificial moons’ are basically satellites that will posses reflectors to reflect sun light to illuminate urban areas in place of regular street lights.

Wu Chunfeng – head of Tian Fu New Area Science Society – said 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.”

The artificial moons will reflect light from the sun to save upto 1.2 billion yuan ($170 million) a year in electricity costs for Chengdu, if they illuminate an area of 50 square kilometers.

China’s space programme competes with United States and Russia, and a number of ambitious projects are in the pipeline, including the Chang’e-4 lunar probe, which aims to launch later this year. If it succeeds, it will be the first rover to explore the “dark side” of the moon.

Similar experiment called as ‘Znamya’ was done in 1990s by Russian scientists who reportedly used giant mirrors to reflect light from space.

The companies involved in the development of artificial moons are: Tian Fu New Area Science Society, other universities and institutes, including the Harbin Institute of Technology and China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp.