China is planning to launch its own “artificial moon” by the year 2020, it has been reported.
The city of Chengdu has unveiled plans to replace the city’s streetlights with a satellite that will boost the glow of the real moon.
The artificial moon will be able to light an area with a diameter of 10 to 80 kilometres.
Wu Chunfeng, chairman of Chengdu aerospace science and technology microelectronics system research institute, announced the news and said that the artificial moon would be eight times brighter than the real moon, according to the People’s Daily.
He added that the testing of the illumination started years ago and is now ready.
The manmade moon will have a coating that can reflect light from the sun with solar panel-like wings.
The angles of these wings can then be adjusted to allow the light to focus on a precise location, Asia Times reported.
The exact details of the spacecraft, the launch date and how the artificial moon would be maintained were not revealed.
Officials from the city of Chengdu said they were hoping to save money on street lighting and also increase tourism.