Japan Satellite Blasts into Space to Deliver Artificial Meteor Shower

Epsilon-4 small-size rocket carrying a total of seven micro satellites that will demonstrate various “innovative” technologies and will put on the world’s first artificial meteor shower, launched by Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) from Uchinoura space centre, blasted into space on Friday 18 January 2019.

  • Micro-satellite have been developed by ALE Co. Ltd – a start-up based in Tokyo that plans to deliver its first out-of-this-world show over Hiroshima in the spring of 2020,
    as the initial experiment for what it calls a “shooting stars on demand” service.
  • ALE’s satellite, released 500 kilometres above the Earth, will gradually descend to 400 kilometres over the coming year as it orbits the Earth.
  • Micro satellites are to release 400 tiny chemical balls that glow brightly as they hurtle through atmosphere, simulating meteor shower.
  • That should be enough for 20-30 events, as one shower will involve up to 20 stars, according to the company.
  • Possibility to simulate multi-coloured flotilla of shooting star through tinkering the chemical ingredients in balls to change colours
  • Micro satellites would also demonstrate various “innovative” technologies.
  • ALE plans to launch a second satellite on a private-sector rocket in mid-2019.
  • When its two satellites are in orbit, they can be used separately or in tandem, and will be programmed to eject the balls at the right location, speed and direction to put on a show for viewers on the ground.
  • Tinkering with the ingredients in the balls should mean that it is possible to change the colours they glow, offering the possibility of a multi-coloured flotilla of shooting stars.
  • Each star is expected to shine for several seconds before being completely burned up — well before they fall low enough to pose any danger to anything on Earth.
  • They would glow brightly enough to be seen even over the light-polluted metropolis of Tokyo.
  • If all goes well, and the skies are clear, the 2020 event could be visible to millions of people.
  • ALE chief executive Lena Okajima has said her company chose Hiroshima for its first display because of its good weather, landscape and cultural assets.
  • The western Japan city rose from the ashes after the 1945 US atomic bombing and faces the Seto Inland Sea where the floating gate of Itsukushima Shrine is.
  • ALE is working in collaboration with scientists and engineers at Japanese universities as well as local government officials and corporate sponsors.
  • ALE aims to target “whole world” with its products and plans to build stockpile of shooting stars in space which can be delivered across world.
  • It has not disclosed the price for an artificial meteor shower.
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