Japan has a plan to make its Olympics opening ceremony unlike any other. A start-up, called Star-ALE, is designing a man-made meteor shower that could be seen over Tokyo during the 2020 games.
The pyrotechnics show, dubbed ‘Sky Canvas’, will be visible from an area of over 120 miles, the company claims.
How does it work ?
‘A natural shooting star occurs when a particle in space, with a size of a few millimeters, enters the atmosphere and burns brightly through a process called plasma emission,’ the company writes on its website.
‘Our goal is to artificially recreate this process.’
To launch the cosmic fireworks, Star-ALE will send a microsatellite into space loaded with between 5,000 and 1,000 combustible pellets.
These pellets will be made from various metals and elements so that they burn with different colours, according to a report. Potassium, for instance, burns purple, cesium burns blue and copper lets off a green glow.
The pellet will ignite at an altitude of 35 to 50 miles above Earth. Each pellet costs just over $8,000 to manufacture.
The show, which will be seen from 120 miles across, could have an audience of 30,000,000 people. The Video of the plan goes viral.
‘In the ‘Sky Canvas Project,’ numerous source particles can be continuously emitted, which allows us to create not only a single shooting star, but a real meteor shower,’ Star-ALE says.
Star-ALE is currently testing the pellets in a vacuum chamber that exposes them to supersonic hot gases. The gases are designed to simulate the friction the pellets would be subjected to as they fell to Earth from space.
If all goes to plan, the show could been seen all over Tokyo and have an audience of 30,000,000 people. The area is 400 times wider than a fireworks bursting at an altitude of 500 metres.
‘In a laboratory setting, our artificial shooting stars have already achieved an apparent magnitude of -1,’ the company says. ‘Even Sirius, the brightest star that can be observed in the night sky, has an apparent magnitude of -1.5. ‘There’s no doubt that artificial shooting stars by ALE can clearly be seen anywhere, even in the city.’
The company is aiming to launch its first satellite in the latter half of 2017 and commercialise the project in 2018.