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A test rocket for the world’s first artificial meteor shower in 2020 flew over Japan tonight

A test rocket for the world’s first artificial meteor shower in 2020 flew over Japan tonight
[Video: ALE Co., Ltd]

The world is filled with strange and wonderful things, both real (see: Maine’s spinning alien ice disk) and fake (see: Thailand’s artificial rain and China’s fake moon). And soon you will be able to add to that list an artificial meteor shower set to launch over Japan.

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The artificial meteor shower is the creation of the Tokyo-based firm Astro Live Experiences (ALE), the BBC first reported. The company, led by CEO and founder Lena Okajima, works in what it calls the “space entertainment” sector. The artificial meteor shower works similarly to real ones–pellets burn up in the atmosphere, putting on a light show. ALE’s tech makes the most of the disintegration routine by releasing centimeter-sized pellets that dissolve into bright colors as they heat up and break down in the atmosphere. ALE claims their version is an improvement over natural meteor showers as it lasts longer and is brighter, so it can be seen even with city lights polluting the dark sky.

ALE has spent seven years perfecting its artificial meteor-making device, and it is ready for liftoff. It will hitch a ride on the Japanese space agency’s Epsilon Rocket, as part of a program that gives students and space businesses the chance to test experiments, projects, and products in space.

The rocket is due to launch at 9:50 a.m. Japan time on Thursday (7:50 p.m. Wednesday EST).

According to ALE, the main mission of the satellite launching this week is to “investigate the feasibility” of man made meteors. If all goes well and the conditions are right, the test will also include releasing objects from the satellite to generate meteors.

The main event will be what the company calls the “world’s first man made meteor,” which will take place in spring 2020 in Japan at the vicinity of Hiroshima and Seto inland sea.

This post has been updated to clarify that the first “meteor shower” is scheduled to take place in 2020.

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