China to launch artificial moon by 2020. Here's what it will do

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The 14,300-square-meter city of Chengdu would be the primal focus of the light from the man-made moon, and astronomers throughout China and overseas should be able to spot the glowing star at night.

Chengdu, a city in the country's southwestern Sichuan province, is now working on developing artificial "illumination satellites", which will go up there and shine eight times more brightly than the moon, informed China Daily.

Chengdu, a city in southwestern Sichuan province, is developing "illumination satellites" which will shine in tandem with the real moon, but are eight times brighter, according to China Daily.

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The artificial moon will be able to light an area with a diameter of 10 to 80 kilometres. However, the artificial moon will have eight times the brightness of the actual moon, which is 380,000-km above the earth.

Wu Chunfeng, chief of the Tian Fu New Area Science Society, told China Daily it won't appear too much brighter than the normal moon.

All living creatures, including humans, have an internal clock, known as the circadian rhythm, which is roughly structured to the natural 24-hour day, part of Earth's predictable rhythm of day and night that is encoded in the DNA of all plants and animals, according to the International Dark Sky Association. The organization behind the lunar illumination also hopes the space light source will assist with rescue efforts in disaster zones when electricity for lighting is not available. Should this happen, the artificial moons could take turns reflecting sunlight, or could even illuminate the Earth all at once if necessary. If this mission succeeds, China will be the first country to ever explore the moon's "dark side".

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The idea of an "artificial moon" came from a French artist, who imagined hanging a necklace made of mirrors above the earth, which could reflect sunshine through the streets of Paris all year round. On this regard, Wu notes that the tests will only be done in uninhabited deserts where it will not interfere with any people.

Harbin Institute of Technology and China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp have evaluated and approved the project.

The mirror was supposed to work like an artificial moon, according to a CNN report back then, reflecting sunlight onto several regions in Russian Federation and other former Soviet republics before reaching Germany and the Czech Republic.

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The paper added that testing the illumination satellite started years ago and all the technology and design had been finalized.

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