This is unlike anything you have ever heard of before. A Japanese start-up plans to make meteor showers so accessible that it can be ordered at any time, any place around the world. Maybe now’s the time to up your romance game? By Shikha Pushpan

 

This is what you would call ‘shooting for the star’ (quite literally!). A Tokyo-based start-up is all set to develop the world’s first artificial meteor shower, which means you can now order a shower of shooting stars anytime you want and in any part of the world.

ALE short for Astro Live Experiences, is taking an unprecedented leap into the world of space sciences with its Sky Canvas project, wherein it plans to put up its first magnificent show of shooting stars in the skies of Hiroshima by early 2020. But how will they manage to create these artificial shooting stars?

According to ALE’s website, the company will launch two micro-satellites containing about 400 tiny balls that could last for 20-30 events. Once the satellites settle into the orbits, they will release these balls (whose chemical formula is a closely guarded secret) back into the earth’s atmosphere. The balls will then travel approximately one-third of the way around the Earth before burning like shooting stars upon atmospheric re-entry, thus imitating a meteor shower.

 

 

Reports suggest that ALE will release its first satellite in March 2019 and the second one by mid-2019. These satellites will start orbiting the earth by February 2020 and carry out its first artificial meteor shower in the spring of 2020 above the city of Hiroshima. Each star will likely shine for several seconds before being entirely burned up and fall to the ground without posing a danger to anything on Earth. While these shooting stars can be visible in an area up to 200 kilometres around the targeted location, there are possibilities that the balls can even change colours!

According to the firm, the satellites can stay in space for up to two years, during which they can carry out 20-30 artificial meteor showers anywhere in the world. So, how much will this spectacle cost? Well, ALE has not yet revealed the price for the artificial meteor shower yet. However, it’s definitely not going to be cheap, given that the company is spending about US$ 20 million just for the development and production of the two satellites. Phew!

There’s more. Post the success of these artificial meteor showers, the company is likely to explore the possibility of using non-operational satellites in the space to create ‘giant’ shooting stars.