stretch / The fledgling space agency ALE will create the world’s first artificial meteor shower, which is planned over Japan.These meteors appear naturally when Earth passes through the debris cloud left by comets and asteroids in its orbit, and spews particles. They heat up quickly as they pass through the atmosphere at high speeds.
According to the British newspaper “Daily Mail”, for this project, called “SKY CANVAS”, repeating meteorite particles will be installed on a satellite at an altitude of 250 miles (400 km) and then launched in a certain area.
These metal particles are balls about 0.4 inch (1 cm) in diameter and a few grams in mass.
The pea-sized balls contain a secret chemical formula that glows from friction as they re-enter at speeds of up to five miles (8 kilometers) per second.
They travel much more slowly, shine longer than normal stars, lasting up to ten seconds each, and are visible to stargazers up to 125 miles (200 km) away, according to ALE.
Materials in the globules can be changed to change the color of each bright streak, meaning that multi-colored meteorites can be created.
Also, after about two years in orbit, the backpack-sized satellite re-enters the atmosphere and disintegrates completely, preventing it from becoming space junk.
The light show will not only be a treat for stargazers but will also help collect data on the ‘mesosphere’, the third layer of Earth’s atmosphere.
Aeroplanes and airplanes can’t fly high enough to reach it, but it’s too low to be observed by satellite, so it’s not an easy area to study.
But by following the path and light emission of artificial meteors, scientists can gather information about wind speeds and atmospheric composition.
Engineers at ALE will be able to control the position, speed and timing of the meteorite particles, and the team hopes the data will help inform weather models and ultimately increase our understanding of climate change.
Another goal of the program, first announced in 2015, is to help spark more interest in space and science in general.
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