Startup To Create Man-Made Meteor Shower For 2020 Olympics
For some countries, a massive pyrotechnic display would do, but not Japan. Japanese startup company Star-ALE wants to create a man-made meteor shower for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
The artificial meteor shower called Sky Canvas light show will allow viewers to enjoy it from an area of more than 120 miles.
And for that to happen, the pyrotechnics will not be set up on the ground. Star-ALE is taking it to space.
The Tokyo Olympics is still years away, but the company will start launching its series of microsatellites with a special kind of pyrotechnics next year.
Each microsatellite will carry about 500 to 1,000 pieces of special pellets called "source particles." When the pellets re-enter Earth's atmosphere, they will ignite and glow robustly to create that man-made meteor shower effect.
"The particles will travel about one-thirds of the way around the Earth and enter the atmosphere. It will then begin plasma emission and become a shooting star," wrote Star-ALE.
At an altitude of about 35 to 50 miles, these igniting pellets will bathe the skies with a spectacular space display. Unlike a measly pyrotechnics display, this man-made meteor shower will delight approximately 30 million spectators who can watch it unfold before their very eyes.
The company said Sky Canvas can create not only one shooting star, but a "real meteor shower."
"Making the sky a screen is this project's biggest attraction as entertainment. It's a space display," said Star-ALE founder and CEO Lena Okajima.
As one can imagine, these beautiful pellets don't come cheap. Each artificial "shooting star" costs about a million yen ($8,100). This tag price doesn't include the microsatellites' expenses for development and launch.
The pellet's secret formula was tested at the Nihon University. Led by aerospace engineering associate professor Shinsuke Abe, results showed that the pellets' burning brightness can rise above Tokyo's light pollution.
A cloudy night sky could be a problem, but Star-ALE said the space display can be called off at least 100 minutes prior to the launch.
This feature will give the party organizers time to reschedule the entertainment when the sky is clearer. It will also ensure that they get their money's worth.