This bold plan never came to fruition, but as Chinese news outlet The People's Daily reports, an illumination satellite inspired by the idea may brighten the streets of Chengdu as soon as 2020. The plans were reportedly revealed by the Chengdu Aerospace Science and Technology Microelectronics System Research Institute Co.at a Chinese innovation and entrepreneurship event that took place last week.
In fact, light from the artificial moon is expected to save the city money by doing away with the need for streetlights, Chunfeng added.
Wu told reporters the technology is now "mature" and will be launched from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in 2020.
The artificial moon would be able to light an area of up to 10 to 80 kilometers in diameter, giving a dusk-like hue to complement the real moon in the sky. According to The Asia Times, Chengdu's artificial moon will feature a highly reflective coating that reflects the sun's rays via solar panel-like wings. But little is known about the height, size and true brightness of the proposed artificial moon - all of which are factors that could affect its visibility to distant observers.
A Chinese city is exhausted of relying on electricity and the regular old moon to provide lights around town at night.
The People's Daily report credited the idea to "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".
The moon just doesn't cut it anymore for one Chinese city.
He added that the testing of the illumination started years ago and is now ready.
Some expressed concerns about light pollution and potentially negative impact on animals.
Another Russian attempt to launch a space mirror in 1999 fizzled before it got off the ground, according to The Guardian.