While the Tokyo #Olympics are still years away, one inventive Japanese company is working on an unprecedented light show sure to make history for the event. Star-ALE is developing a man-made meteor shower set to go off at the 2020 Olympics.

The sky will become the screen

Called Sky Canvas, the light show will entertain roughly 30 million people with an effect visible for more than 120 miles. To pull it off, the company is launching a series of satellites with some very special pyrotechnics on board in 2017. Each individual satellite will hold up to 1,000 pieces of material called “source particles.” When the pellets are released and hit the atmosphere, they will flare up and glow to create the meteor shower effect.

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The company said the material will travel “one-third of the way around the Earth” and ignite somewhere between 35 and 50 miles above the ground, creating a luminescent man-made #Space display unlike anything seen before. Sky Canvas will be a “real meteor shower,” not just a shooting star here and there.

Man-made meteor showers do not come cheap

While spectacular, the shooting stars themselves come at quite a cost. Each pellet costs about a million yen, or $8,000 U.S. and that is not including the price to launch the satellites. Scientists at Nihon University perfected and tested the material’s formula to ensure a good show. According to associate professor Shinsuke Abe, testing has shown the pellets brightness can even outshine Tokyo’s light pollution.

Each combustible capsule is made of various metals and elements so the shooting stars will glow with different colors.

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The pellets were placed in a vacuum chamber and hit with supersonic gases that simulated how they would react as if entering the planet’s atmosphere.

The particles were specially formulated to burn completely, so no debris or residue will remain in the atmosphere. Additionally, the company said multiple safety measures will be put into place to avoid any potential collisions with any other objects in space.

Star-ALE has even anticipated problems associated with bad or cloudy weather. The man-made meteor shower can be cancelled up to an hour and a half before the show starts. This enables show organizers to reschedule the event if need be. #Science