Think about walking down the streets on a full moon night. Well, it's all romantic, poetic, dreamy and all that but has this thought occurred to you that it also eliminates the requirement for streets lights in many areas?
Yes, many places don't even need those street lights on a full moon night, when our one and only natural satellite shines brightly without the clouds covering its glow. What if we had more than one moons shining brightly over our heads at night? Will it be enough to cut down the electricity expenses of street lights? Well, that's the idea China is now mulling upon, though Russia tried moon mirrors in space in mid-1990s under a project called "Banner".
China is now planning to launch man-made moons to the sky by 2020. The aim is to replace all streetlamps so that, the electricity costs in urban areas can be reduced. Chengdu, a city in the country's southwestern Sichuan province, is currently working on developing artificial "illumination satellites," which will go up there and shine eight times more brightly than the moon, informed China Daily.
The first artificial moon is slated to be launched from Sichuan's Xichang Satellite Launch Center and if everything goes according to the plan, three more such satellites will be launched in 2022, informed the Tian Fu New Area Science Society boss Wu Chunfeng. The said organization is supervising the artificial moon project. The first launch will be experimental that will determine whether or not the plan needs to be revised. However, once that's done, the next three satellites "will be the real deal with great civic and commercial potential," stated Chunfeng.
The satellites will be reflecting light from the sun and if they succeed, these satellites could replace the streetlamps in urban areas, which, in turn, would save around 1.2 billion yuan, in terms of electricity expenses per year, for Chengdu. It will also be helpful in the disaster zones during blackouts, added Chunfeng.
Launching artificial moons is not the ambitious space project China is working on currently. The country also aims to land Chang'e-4 lunar probe on the surface of the moon and the probe is supposed to be launched by the end of this year. If this mission succeeds, China will be the first country to ever explore the moon's "dark side".