Looking for a Shooting Star? A Satellite Might Be Able to Create ‘Meteor Showers’ On Demand

January 17, 2019, 8:06 PM UTC
Astro Live Experiences
Image of ALE's first satellite
Astro Live Experiences

Meteor Showers can be a beautiful thing to witness, but in order to see one, you have to get your timing just right. Now, one company is looking at a way to create a similar experience you can plan for.

Astro Live Experiences is looking to create on-demand “meteor showers” through a Japanese satellite. It just sent its first prototype of the project into space for testing. The satellite would be at a low-orbit, roughly 248 miles above Earth’s surface, and would eject small metal pellets less than an inch in diameter at the chosen time. The result would look similar to a traditional meteor shower, Science Alert reports.

The “meteors” travel through the atmosphere slower than natural meteors, allowing them to be observed for a longer period of time.

“When the particles re-enter Earth’s atmosphere, they burn through a process known as plasma emission, creating the appearance of shooting stars on the ground,” reads the company’s site. “The particles burn with a sufficient brightness to be visible by people in an area up to 200 km in diameter.”

The hope is to have the device, called Sky Canvas, fully functional by next year, when it plans to shower artificial meteors over Hiroshima, 75 years after America dropped atomic bombs on the city during WWII.

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