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Want an impressive opening ceremony? 2020 Olympics may include man-made meteor shower

Call it the world’s best idea or worst idea, but it’s sure to be something special. The Olympics may be all about athletic prowess, but its opening ceremonies have always been about showmanship. And what could be more spectacular than a man-made meteor shower?

A startup called Star-ALE is bidding for the right to create a meteor shower over the Japanese capital city of Tokyo, which will serve as the highlight of the 2020 Olympics opening ceremony. Because why use fireworks when you can create a light display visible across 120 miles of the country?

Star-ALE has dubbed the ambitious feat “Sky Canvas.” It would rely upon a microsatellite that would shoot up to 1,000 pellets of various gasses and elements back toward Earth from outer space. Apparently, the company has tested this concept on Earth, placing pellets into a vacuum and hitting them with gas moving at supersonic speeds, creating an artificial environment similar to that of re-entering Earth’s atmosphere. When the pellets come in contact with the heated gasses, the startup says, they burn and produce different colors. Theoretically, when these pellets are launched from outer space, they’ll ignite when they’re about 35 to 50 miles above our heads, and will be visible to around 30,000,000 people in Tokyo and its nearby areas.

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“It is artificial but I want to make really beautiful (meteors) that can impress viewers,” Lena Okajima, CEO and founder of ALE, said to AFP.

But being impressive comes at quite the cost. Each meteor (or pellet) will cost $8,100, which means that creating a full-blown shower for any extended period of time could cost millions of dollars. And that doesn’t take into consideration the cost of launching the microsatellite itself. But hey, for an event that only happens once every four years, maybe creating a meteor shower of your own is worth the cost.