The project was introduced to the public by Wu Chunfeng, chairman of Chengdu Aerospace Science and Technology Microelectronics System Research Institute Corporation Co. The Norwegian town of Rjukan installed three large computer-controlled mirrors to track and reflect sunlight in 2013; in the 1990s, Russian astronomers succeeded in launching a satellite into space to deflect sunlight back to Earth, but a second attempt in 1999 failed.
It's not the first time humans have attempted to launch a light-reflecting object into the sky - but in the past, such plans have largely ended in failure.
While it might sound implausible, Wu says the technology has been in the works for years and has now "matured" toward readiness. The state media outlet claims that the fake moon would be able to light up an area with a diameter of 10 to 80 kilometers with officials on the ground able to focus all that the illumination on Chengdu.
A city in China is planning to launch an "artificial moon" that will light up the skies as far as 50 miles around.
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According to Chunfeng, Chengdu's streetlights will be replaced with the satellite that will boost the glow of the real moon.
According to the International Dark Sky Association, which advocates for the protection of night skies, living under light-polluted skies is a grave health hazard as our biological clock evolved to match the day-night cycle, and exposure to artificial light at night has been linked to an increased risk of obesity, sleep disorders, depression and more.
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".
Some expressed concerns about light pollution and potentially negative impact on animals.