A startup located in Tokyo is developing a system which aims to create on-demand shooting stars. The first artificial meteor shower is planned to take over Hiroshima in 2020. The startup, named ALE Co. is finalizing the construction of two satellites. One is planned to be launched next year in March while the second will launch a few months after the first, possibly during the summer. While he first satellite will be launched with help from the national space agency, a private company will launch the second one. Each will carry a payload of approximately 400 balls. The balls are covered in a special chemical formula, able to create a spectacular display of light. They are also planned to be reusable, with an estimated number of twenty to thirty meteor showers possible.
The satellites will be pre-programmed to eject the balls with pin-point accuracy so that the spectacle will be visible even in places where pollution levels would hinder such initiatives. The satellites will be used either in tandem or one at a time, and able to reach any point in the world according to the plans of the company. Millions of people will be able to see the show in Tokyo alone.
The company also explores to the possibility to modify satellites which are already in space in order to create ‘’giant’’ shooting starts but it remains to be seen how cost-effective such a solution would prove to be.
By experimenting with the ingredients, the developers found out that it is possible for the balls to change the color in which they glow, making a rainbow-light spectacle that would be even more impressive. It is expected for the balls to glow for several seconds before the chemicals burn out and they fall harmlessly on Earth. How will the balls be recovered remains to be seen.
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