Chinese City Wants to Launch Artificial Moon

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AFP was not able to contact Wu nor the Tian Fu New Area Science Society to confirm the reports. A similar project was unveiled by Russian Federation in the 1990s, with the launch of a solar reflecting system - a "space mirror" - meant to produce light "equivalent to three to five full moons" covering an area approximately 3 miles (5 kilometers) in diameter, the New York Times reported in 1993.

A Chinese city, Chengdu, has perfected plans to replace the city's streetlights with an "artificial moon" by 2020.

The object has a planned orbit of about 310 miles above Earth.

The location and brightness of the "moonbeams" can be controlled and targeted to light up specific areas, the news outlet reported.

Officials hope to launch the artificial moon in 2020 so its fake light can brighten the shadows. The controllable moon could also be useful during disasters and blackout situations. However, less light from the satellite will reach the ground if the sky is overcast.

If it succeeds, it will be the first rover to explore the "dark side" of the moon.

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However, some scientists are sceptical about the idea, insisting the device could disturb wildlife as well as cause a number of challenges to the earth's atmosphere.

The PDO reports that Kang Weimin, the director of the Institute of Optics of the Harbin Institute of Technology in China, said the light emitted by the moon would only amount to a 'dusk-like glow, '.

The project has sparked concern from the public, as many began to worry that the lights reflected from space could affect the daily routines of certain animals.

"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 assured. "When the satellite is in operation, people will see only a bright star above, and not a giant moon as imagined". China's space industry is preparing to put an artificial moon into orbit over the city of Chengdu.

"China, Russia, the US, Japan and the European Union are all striving to make technological breakthroughs on space energy application", Wu said.

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