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A Chinese city, Chengdu, has perfected plans to replace the city's streetlights with an "artificial moon" by 2020.

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.

Asia Times reports that the satellite would have a "highly reflective coating to reflect light from the sun with solar panel-like wings whose angles can be adjusted".

Speaking at an entrepreneur conference, Wu said the satellite will allow the light to be carefully controlled and kept to an area 10-80 kilometres (around 6-50 miles) in diameter.

China's space industry is preparing to launch the world's first artificial moon to help with urban illumination at night, a leading scientist said.

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The idea for the project reportedly 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".

Regarding concerns about the Chinese artificial moon interfering with astronomical observations or disrupting animals that are active at night, Kang Weimin, the director of the Institute of Optics of the Harbin Institute of Technology in China, said that the light would amount to only a "dusk-like glow", PDO reported.

Artificial light also throws animals off their natural day-night rhythms.

For now, details on the proposed moon-including further satellite specifications, cost and launch date-remain scarce. The project aimed to redirect sunlight onto Russian cities, but the space mirror misfired at launch and the entire project was soon cancelled due to budget issues, according to the New York Times.

The moon will orbit the city at a height of 500 kilometers, and will be one of three artificial moons sent into space over the next four years. The scheme used a device known as the Znamya 2, which was equipped with a 25-meter mirror to illuminate a three-mile radius of land.


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