The bar for Olympic opening ceremonies has been set pretty high in recent years. If one startup gets its way, an artificial meteor shower could make Tokyo’s opening ceremonies in 2020 the most memorable in history.
As Gizmodo reports, the company Star-ALE is vying for the opportunity to show off their man-made meteor technology at the 2020 Olympic games. The so-called “Sky Canvas” pyrotechnics display would involve a micro-satellite designed to fire up to 1000 pellets towards the Earth from space. As they reenter the planet’s atmosphere, they’d burn brightly like actual meteors. But unlike real meteors, the pellets would be manufactured with specific metals and chemicals to ignite in vibrant colours, resembling fireworks.
The artificial meteors would burn up approximately 35 to 50 miles above the ground, making them visible across a 120-mile radius.
The technology has yet to be tested in space, but according to Digital Trends, the company has apparently tried it out on Earth by placing pellets in a vacuum and blasting them with air at supersonic speeds. Star-ALE will be launching their first real satellites into orbit next year to put their concept into action.
Even if the tests run smoothly, there’s no guarantee the show will be included in the opening ceremonies. Just one pellet costs more than $8000 to make, and that’s not even taking into account the price of manufacturing a satellite and getting it into space.
If the show did go forward as planned, all it would take is some cloudy weather to ruin it — although the company says they can remotely postpone the display once the micro-satellites have been launched.