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Artificial moon launched planned by China for 2020

CHINA has a bizarre plan to launch what could be the world’s largest light globe.

The southwestern Chinese city of Chengdu intends to launch a fake moon into space in that researchers expect would orbit about 500 kilometres above the earth.

And the bold move could save more than $200 million a year in electricity costs.

The project is set to be completed in 2020 and, according to the People’s Daily, the artificial moon is “designed to complement the moon at night”.

media_cameraThe artificial moon could be floating above China in 2020. Picture: AFP/Giuseppe Cacace

The fake moon’s glow is predicted to light up an area with a diameter of 10-80 kilometres; with its precise illumination range being controlled within a few dozen metres, making it eight times as bright as the real moon.

The light emitted would be enough to entirely replace street lights, researchers believe, and if it covered 50 square kilometres, it could save $1.2 billion yuan ($A240 million) in electricity costs each year.

The project was introduced to the public by Wu Chunfeng, chairman of Chengdu Aerospace Science and Technology Microelectronics System Research Institute Corporation Co.

Mr Wu made the announcement at a national mass innovation and entrepreneurship activity held in Chengdu on October 10.

media_cameraThe articial light emitted would replace streetlights in the Chinese city of Chengdu. Picture: iStock

He explained that the testing of the illumination satellite started years ago, and now the technology has finally matured.

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.

Kang Weimin, director of the Institute of Optics, School of Aerospace, Harbin Institute of Technology, assured that the light of the satellite is similar to a dusk-like glow, so it should not affect animals’ routines.

The cost of the project has not yet been announced.

media_cameraResearchers say the moon-like satellite would emit a soft glow. Picture: Supplied

A similar project was planned by Russian researchers in 1999, as plans were made to use orbiting mirrors to light up cities in Siberia, hoping it would be a cheaper alternative to electric lighting.

The scheme developed by Russia used a device called Znamya 2. It was equipped with a 25-metre mirror to illuminate a three-mile wide patch of land.

During its first orbit the craft was destroyed following a collision in space. The scheme was abandoned, reported The Telegraph.

This is an edited version of an article that originally appeared on The Sun.

Originally published as China’s bizarre fake ‘moon’ plan

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