A Tokyo-based space company, ALE, plans to create the world’s first artificial meteor shower in 2025.
This project, called Sky Canvas, will reportedly launch satellites into space and deploy “space fireworks” to produce man-made shooting stars that can be seen from different countries, including the UK.
The primary objective of this celestial light show is to entertain on an unprecedented scale while collecting atmospheric data from the mesosphere that is vital for climate change research.
The mesosphere is a largely unexplored region about 31 to 53 miles (50 to 85 km) above the planet that is currently too high to be documented by weather balloons and aircraft but too low to be reached by satellites.
By studying the light emission and trajectory of each artificial shooting star, scientists hope to gather more information on wind speed and atmosphere composition.
Dr Lena Okajima, founder and chief executive of ALE, said that their aim is to contribute to the sustainable development of humankind and to bring space closer to everyone.
To create the artificial meteor shower, tiny metal-based pellets about 1cm in size will be sent up in satellites orbiting the Earth before releasing them around 249 miles (400km) up.
These particles are expected to travel over 8,000 miles before hitting the atmosphere at an altitude of 60-80 km and lighting up the night sky.
While experiments on the ground have been successful in producing multi-coloured shooting stars, it’s still uncertain whether they can be produced in orbit.
Originally scheduled for 2020, the launch of Sky Canvas was delayed due to a satellite malfunction, but it is now back on track.
ALE hopes to inspire curiosity and interest in space and the universe while furthering scientific understanding of climate change.
The company also assured that they will take all possible precautions to ensure Sky Canvas doesn’t hit other man-made objects and increase space debris.
ALE said it “hopes to give Brits and others all over the world the opportunity to view the world’s first live human-made meteor shower.”
With the success of this project, the company plans to continue exploring the potential of artificial meteor showers for other applications, such as outdoor events, advertising, and disaster prevention.
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