China is adumbrating plans to launch its own artificial moon by 2020. The main purpose of this moon will be to become a strong substitute of street lamps. We know that in urban areas, costs of electricity and the recurring electricity consumption is extremely high. A huge amount of electricity is consumed by street lights and decorative illuminating lights that are taking a toll on the fuels that are required to produce electricity. Thus, Chengdu, a city in Sichuan province is developing “illumination satellites” that will remain on China’s sky and shine like the moon. The surprising thing is that it will illuminate 8 times brighter than the original moon.
The first test satellite will be launched by Xichang Satellite Launch Center Sichuan. If it turns out to be successful, then three more satellites will be launched by 2022. Wu Chenfeng, head of Tian Fu New Area Science Society confirmed their vision to the press. He said that 2022 satellites “will be the real deal with great civic and commercial potential”. The function of the satellites will be to reflect light from the sun and propagate them to the respective places. They will readily replace street lamps light in urban areas. If the idea falls in its respective places, then the country will be able to save an estimated 1.2 billion yuan (US$170 million) a year in electricity costs for Chengdu provided the moons illuminate an area of 50 square kilometers. Not only a solid replacement for street lights, but these moons can also act as a potential last resort during emergency situations like blackouts, natural disasters, etc.
According to several sources, China is planning to tie up with other big powers such as the United States and Russia. Hence, several projects are pipelined back to back. One of them is Chang’e-4 lunar probe, which is going to be launched by the end of this year. If it is successful, then it will be the first rover to explore the “dark side” of the moon.
Other than Tian Fu New Area Science Society, the Harbin Institute of Technology and China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp, are also actively involved in developing Chengdu’s illumination satellites.