Science 2 min read

Japan to Create an Artificial Meteor Shower by 2020

Artist illustration of one of the seven satellites from the Sky Canvas project by Astro Live Experiences | ALE

Artist illustration of one of the seven satellites from the Sky Canvas project by Astro Live Experiences | ALE

On Friday, the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency launched an Epsilon-4 rocket from the Uchinoura Space Center. The rocket contains the first seven micro-satellites developed by the Tokyo-based startup Astro Live Experiences. These satellites will reportedly deliver an artificial meteor shower into our planet’s atmosphere by 2020.

ALE’s project, called Sky Canvas, aims to mimic shooting stars in the night sky by releasing tiny balls filled with chemicals. The chemical-filled balls will burn and glow brightly as they enter the Earth’s atmosphere, simulating a meteor shower.

“Sky Canvas, the world’s first artificial shooting star project, aims to bring people from all over the world together to witness an unprecedented, collective experience,” the Japanese company wrote in its website.

“Using space as our stage, we will constantly strive to bring to life new levels of entertainment. We will use our technical expertise and know-how to contribute to the development of science.”

Read More: Russian Startup Plans To Put Advertisements In Low-Earth Orbit

Artificial Meteor Shower

Around noon last Friday, JAXA confirmed that all seven satellites successfully launched into orbit. According to JAXA spokesperson Nobuyoshi Fujimoto, each satellite demonstrates different “innovative” technologies.

“I was too moved for words. I feel like now the hard work is ahead,” Lena Okajima, ALE president, said in an interview with the Jiji Press agency.

Okajima and ALE plan to deliver the first artificial meteor shower by 2020. Last week’s satellite mission carried around 400 tiny balls filled with a closely-guarded formula of chemicals.

The number of balls is enough for 20 to 30 events as one artificial meteor shower will only involve up to 20 stars. Furthermore, each satellite can be used separately or in tandem for different shows. The satellites, released at an altitude of 500 kilometers above Earth, will gradually descend to 400 kilometers in the coming years as they orbit the planet.

The company’s first meteor shower will be over Hiroshima. Okajima said they chose Hiroshima due to its good weather, landscape, and cultural assets. If all goes well, the event will be witnessed by millions of people.

Okajima did not disclose the price for an artificial meteor shower. However, they did confirm plans to launch another satellite on a private-sector rocket by mid-2019.

Do you think projects like this could do more harm than good due to space pollution?

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Chelle is the Product Management Lead at INK. She's an experienced SEO professional as well as UX researcher and designer. She enjoys traveling and spending time anywhere near the sea with her family and friends.

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    John Usrey March 29 at 7:08 am GMT

    The dust and debris of artificial meteor shower will definitely harm the Space.

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