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Man-made Meteors

from AFP via Yahoo! News

Wishing on a shooting star in Japan with man-made meteors

by Miwa Suzuki

Fancy a meteor shower racing across the night sky to mark your birthday? One Japanese start-up is hoping to deliver shooting stars on demand and choreograph the cosmos.

And, say scientists, it’s not just about painting huge pictures on the night-sky that would be visible to millions of people; artificial meteors could help us to understand a lot more about Earth’s atmosphere.

Lena Okajima, who holds a doctorate in astronomy, says her company — ALE — is intending to launch a micro satellite that can eject shooting stars at exactly the right time and place to put on a celestial show.

“I’m thinking of streams of meteors that are rare in nature,” Okajima told AFP in an interview.

“It is artificial but I want to make really beautiful ones that can impress viewers,” she said.

In collaboration with scientists and engineers at Japanese universities, the ALE team is developing a satellite that will orbit the Earth and eject dozens of balls, a few centimetres (an inch) in diameter, at a time.

These balls — whose chemical formula is a closely-guarded secret — will race through the atmosphere at around 7-8 kilometres (up to five miles) a second, glowing brightly from the friction created by smashing into the air.

[ click to continue reading at Yahoo! News ]

Posted on June 27, 2015 by Editor

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