Chinese city to launch artificial moon in hopes of replacing street lights

Chengdu Aerospace Science is planning to launch its illumination satellite in 2020, which it says will be eight times brighter than the moon and bright enough to replace street lights.

A Chinese city has plans to build what it is describing as an "artificial moon" and bright enough to possibly replace the need for street lights.

The south-western city of Chengdu revealed it would launch its illumination satellite in 2020, which it said was designed to emulate moonlight and would be eight times brighter than the real moon.

The aim is to have the satellite replace the need for street lights, according to a report by China state media People's Daily, which quoted Wu Chunfeng, chairman of Chengdu Aerospace Science and Technology Microelectronics System Research Institute.

The "artificial moon" would be bright enough to lit an area with a diameter of 10km to 80km and which coverage area could be controlled within "a few dozen meters".

Wu said the illumination satellite was first tested several years ago and now the technology had now matured.

The Chinese government in June announced it was building a space station that was slated to be operational by 2022. China was the third country to send a human being into space and had run various space programmes, including lunar rovers and satellites.