A Chinese city revealed a daring plan, as it will launch a moon-like satellite by 2020.
The satellite, modeled to look like the moon, will float above the city of Chengdu, aiming to illuminate the night sky as it will be up the eight times brighter in comparison to our natural satellite.
Few details are available, but the main inspiration source for the project is a French artist that imagined a chain of mirrors placed around the world that would have focused the light coming from the moon.
The plan was unveiled by Wu Chunfend, Chairman of Chengdu Aerospace Science and Technology Microelectronics System Research Institute, during an event that took place on October 10.
The light emitted by the satellite will complement the existent light from the moon, and if the resulting one is powerful enough, traditional streetlights may be removed. The satellite can illuminate an area ranging between 10 and 80 kilometers wide (6 to 50 miles). The plan may sound outlandish, but Wu has declared that it has been in development for a number of years, and it has reached the final stages as it nears completion.
The initiative has already received criticism from skeptics and concerned organizations that fear the adverse effects of the artificial light on animals and astronomical observations. Those fear were dismissed by Kang Weimin, director of the Institute of Optics, which claims that the light will be similar to the weak glow of the dusk.
This will not be the first attempt at a light- reflecting device that can be controlled from Earth, but previous initiatives were not very successful.
One attempt took place in 2017, when a Russian team wanted to send a highly-reflective satellite in space even though the astronomic community boycotted the initiative from the start. In a press statement released in August this year the team acknowledged that the satellite failed to work properly.
It remains to be seen if the Chinese attempt will succeed.