Forget fireworks. Japan will soon have artificial meteor showers on tap

The skies over Japan will soon be lit up by a giant meteor shower that will differ from all others that came before it in that it’s man-made. Tokyo-based startup Astro Live Experiences has plans to stage an artificial meteor shower as a showcase of its prowess in the so-called “space entertainment” sector.

The shower is essentially a next-generation light show or fireworks display. It will last anywhere from a few dozen seconds to a few minutes. The unearthly light show effect will come from centimeter-sized pellets that cause an explosion of bright colors as they burn up in the atmosphere, just like an actual meteor shower would do. According to Astro Live Experiences, however, the effect should be more sustained and spectacular than even the real thing. It will even be bright enough to be visible in areas with heavy light pollution.

To make the fake meteor shower possible, the meteor capsules will be given a lift on the Japanese space agency’s Epsilon Rocket, a solid-fuel rocket designed to launch scientific satellites. The launch will take place at 9:50 a.m. local time (that’s 7:50 p.m. ET/4:50 p.m. PT) today. It will deliver a satellite containing the meteor capsules. The plan is for these capsules to then be fired out of the capsule at high speed and burn up as they reenter the atmosphere.

“These meteor showers occurred from very small particles from outer space, so we thought we could re-create the same situation using little satellites,” Astro CEO and founder Lena Okajima told the BBC.

You’ll have to wait a bit longer (and buy a plane ticket to Japan) for the next chance to actually see an artificial meteor display. Provided today’s launch goes well, Astro Live Experiences aims to stage an artificial meteor shower over the city of Hiroshima in 2020. Due to the fact that the action will take place more than 37 miles above the ground, it will be viewable by an estimated 6 million people within a radius of 124 miles.

It sounds hella-ambitious, but we’re excited to see the finished results. By comparison, even enormous synchronized aerial drone displays sound a little bit like yesterday’s news.

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