This Chinese City Wants an Artificial Moon to Replace Streetlights by 2020

Within the next two years, a city in China is hoping to launch an artificial moon into the sky that would be so bright, there would be no need for streetlights.

In Chengdu, there is talk of launching an artificial moon “designed to complement the moon at night,” according to People’s Daily. The newspaper said that the artificial moon would appear up to eight times brighter in the sky than the real one and bathe the city of Chengdu in a “dusk-like glow.”

The satellite would be able to light an area between six to 50 miles (10 to 80 kilometers) across and be controlled “within a few dozen meters,” according to the newspaper. If successful, it could save the city up to $240 million in annual electricity costs.

A project leader said at a national mass innovation and entrepreneurship event last week that the technology behind the satellite launch has been in development for years. At this point, a 2020 launch could become reality.

The project also assures naysayers it wouldn’t mess up the rhythm of the nature (or people) in the city. Kang Weimin, director of the Institute of Optics, School of Aerospace, Harbin Institute of Technology, told People’s Daily that the moon would not disturb nocturnal animals because it would never get brighter than dusk.

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