According to SoraNews24, ALE founder and Chief Executive Officer, Lena Okajima, officially announced the Shooting Star Challenge, the company’s first trial run for the artificial meteor showers, which will take place in a couple of years over the Setouchi area — referred to as Seto Inland Sea — of Hiroshima Prefecture.
The Japanese startup will recreate the magical moment, which is actually just space debris entering Earth’s atmosphere, creating a bright trail of light while falling towards the planet.
ALE plans to accomplish the feat using its own specially made pellets loaded in the company’s 23-inch satellite located about 500 kilometers (310 miles) above Australia. The satellite is expected to hold around 300 to 400 pellets that would hopefully last until the conclusion of the craft’s one year in orbit.
Once everything is in motion, the satellite will then fire these pellets into the atmosphere. However, it would take about 15 minutes before the pellets begin to fall to a height of 60 kilometers (37 miles) and burn.
Since the pellets are all artificial, ALE can adjust and tweak them to make the shooting stars much brighter and last longer than the natural phenomenon. Customers can also opt to change the color of the meteor shower. The spectacle would last about five to 10 seconds per pellet and is expected to be visible within a 100 kilometer (62 miles) radius.
ALE has yet to announce any specific dates on when it will conduct its first ever run for the artificial shooting stars. Also, it has yet to confirm if the company plans to use the spectacle during the 2020 Olympics.
Okajima did mention that she wants people to take their eyes off of their smartphone and cherish the beauty of the cosmos.
“These days people are usually looking down at their smartphones. I want to make people look upwards again,” the former investment banker, who is a mother of two with a PhD in Astronomy, said.
Besides giving an on-demand meteor shower entertainment, ALE is also using the satellite to gather data to study the physics in the upper atmosphere.
The company is being backed by corporate giant FamilyMart and Japan Airlines as well as educational and research institutes, Tohoku University and Tokyo Metropolitan University.
Images via YouTube / ALE