China to launch ’artificial moon’ to illuminate city streets 中國將發射「人造月亮」，照亮城市街道
China is planning to launch its own ’artificial moon’ by 2020 to replace streetlamps and lower electricity costs in urban areas, state media reported.
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. It will also orbit much closer to Earth; about 500 km away, compared to the moon’s 380,000 km, according to China Daily.
But not everyone is happy with the unusual plan. Critics have questioned whether light from the satellite would affect the health of Chengdu’s residents, both human and animal. It is unclear what impact the satellite would have on astronomy and stargazing.
Research shows excess light at night messes with human sleep, which is linked to increased risk for cancer, obesity and depression. It also disturbs the natural patterns of wildlife.