logo
logo

Here's how a Japanese startup plans to make artificial meteor showers on-demand

avatar
David Shiner
img

Shooting stars, meteors, and full-on meteor showers are wonders to behold.

These celestial light shows occur when gas, dust, and space debris burn up in Earth's atmosphere.But they don't happen as often as we might like, nor do they predictably occur exactly when and where we'd like them to.So a startup called ALE, with scientific collaborators from Japanese universities, wants to manufacture shooting stars with a sky-high project called "Sky Canvas.

"You can kind of see how it would work in this promotional video they made:ALE's plan is to launch a satellite about 310 miles up, where it would release 500 to 1,000 pellets — each containing different elements to make them burn up in different colors.Once the pellets fly one-third of the way around the Earth, they'd reenter the atmosphere about 40 miles up and ignite, becoming tiny shooting stars.The company has tested the pellets in the lab, and reported they could be bright enough to see even under the glow of city lights.A number of news outlets reported that the company planned to open the 2020 Tokyo Olympics Opening Ceremony with their artificial meteor shower, but ALE said that isn't the case.

"However, our product is still in development and we have not formally talked to the Olympic committee so any articles claiming that we 'will' or that we have 'already bid / proposed' are technically false.

"But would this actually work?Aerospace engineer and space debris expert Hugh Lewis, from the University of Southampton, told Tech Insider that creating an artificial meteor shower is possible.Doing so at the altitude ALE is planning to, however, could be problematic.

More from Tech Insider:This incredible new first-person shooter is perfect for newcomers and veterans alikeThis Bill Gates-backed veggie burger is the best one you can buy in a grocery storeThe most innovative desserts the inventor of the Cronut has dreamed upHere s how long to wait before you text your crush backPeugeot's throwback race car concept is beautiful and innovativeNOW WATCH: Here's what you actually see while you're watching a meteor showerLoading video...

collect
0
avatar
David Shiner
guide
Zupyak is a free content platform for publishing and discovering stories, software and startups.