As all the other countries around the globe is working on sending their people or cars to Moon, China’s space industry is preparing to launch the world’s first artificial moon to help its urban lighting at night.
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.
The artificial moon would 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 in addition to the moon at night, though it is predicted to be eight times brighter.
“But this is not enough to light up the entire night sky, its expected brightness, in the eyes of humans, is around one-fifth of normal street lights. The first moon will be mostly experimental, but the three moons in 2022 will be the real deal with great civic and commercial potential.” –Wu Chunfeng, head of Tian Fu New Area
However, Wu noted that much work still needs to be done, both in terms of scientific accessibility and business models, to gain the full potential of China’s artificial moons.
“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, when the satellite is in operation, people will see only a bright star above, and not a giant moon as imagined.” –Wu Chunfeng