A Japanese startup is developing an “on-demand planet,” saying it will be preparing to launch the world’s first man-made meteor shower in a spectacular performance in Hiroshima in early 2020.
The Tokyo-based ALE is in the final stages of developing two microsatellites that emit tiny balls that glow brightly as they enter the atmosphere, simulating meteor showers.
The first satellite will enter the space on a rocket launched by the Japan Space Agency in March 2019.
The second part will launch a private rocket in mid-2019.
ALE CEO Lena Okajima told reporters: “Our goal is the whole world, because our meteors will be stored in space and can be delivered worldwide.”
Each satellite can carry 400 small balls, and its chemical formula is a secret of strict confidentiality.
When shooting from a satellite, the ball glows when it surges in the atmosphere. According to the company, the 400 balls will be enough to accommodate 20-30 events and the satellite will be able to stay in space for about two years.
Officials say the company is also investigating whether it is possible to use a space satellite that is no longer operational to create a “giant” meteor. ALE chief engineer Ko Kamachi said, “We plan to push a second-hand satellite to the atmosphere in the target orbit to create a huge artificial shooting star,” adding that the idea is still in the basic research stage.
ALE’s two satellites will begin orbit around the Earth in February 2020, preparing for the first delivery of an artificial meteor in the western Japanese city of Hiroshima in the spring of 2020.
Satellites can be used alone or in tandem and can be programmed to pop the ball in the correct position, speed and direction to perform for the audience on the ground.
Repairing the ingredients in the ball should mean changing the color of their glow, providing the possibility of multi-colored fleet stars.