Meteor showers on demand might become the talk of the decade. Instead of firecrackers lighting up the night sky on special events like weddings, birthdays or anniversaries, you can just order a meteor shower with customized colors. But, there is a catch! You need to be filthy rich. We mean something like using million dollar bearer bonds for wiping your bottom every morning after the ritualistic poop ceremony.
We will get to this costing part later. First let us talk about the man-made meteor showers on demand. Allow us the opportunity to build up the background first!
Shooting stars – what are they? Nothing but space dust and debris that enters earth’s atmosphere and because of air friction, they become so hot that they literally burn. The debris or the dust are called meteoroids. Meteoroids, upon entering earth’s atmosphere take the name meteors. When the burning meteors manage to hit earth‘s surface, they are given a new name – meteorites! Well, all meteoroids that manage to become meteor do not eventually become meteorites. They burn off long before they reach earth’s surface. Only a handful, big enough to avoid complete annihilation in atmosphere become meteorites.
For times immemorial, meteor showers have grabbed attention of mankind. Not only are they beautiful, they are often associated with human sentiments and wishes. What make them so wonderful is their rarity. You don’t see meteor showers every day. If you did, you would have certainly paid no attention to them at all just like you really don’t pay attention to air or sunlight. You simply know that they are just there.
No imagine what will happen if you can call these meteors whenever and wherever you wanted! The cosmic firecrackers will literally lose their charm and whimsical vibe. But there are some aspiring tech entrepreneurs who think – “who cares as long as we make money with something unique!” What they miss out is that their uniqueness is what makes them so fascinating and once the unique object becomes a common object, there is no charm in it.
The Japanese Tech Start Up – ALE
We are living in an era of start ups. There are literally tens of thousands of start up companies all over the world, each one of them promising something good. One such start up company is ALE from Japan. It is no ordinary start up. There is some serious brain-power behind the company. Founded by a Japanese astronomer named Lena Okajima, ALE’s partners are basically all engineers and scientists.
It is this ALE that is en route to creating the artificial meteoroids. The company says that it has the technological muscle that is required to make it happen but all that is needed is a serious investor or perhaps two.
What ALE plans on is to send a small satellite – a seriously small satellite that is cubical in shape for orbiting the Earth. Each side of the cube will measure just 20 inches. This satellite is known as the CubeSat.
According to ALE, CubeSat will be taken anywhere between 250 and 310 miles above ground where it will be orbiting our Earth. This mini satellite will be carrying a payload of artificial meteoroids. When time, the CubeSat will simply eject the payload in the open. The rest will be done by earth’s gravity and atmospheric friction.
Talking about the artificial meteoroids, ALE revealed that each individual ball will be no more than an inch in diameter and that they will travel through air at a speed of 7 to 8 kilometers a second. Compared to the speed of actual celestial meteoroids, that speed is just nothing. The natural ones travel at a speed about 10 times that speed!
ALE however did not reveal the chemical composition of the meteoroids but did say that it is possible to tweak the composition of each meteoroid to ensure that each ball creates different color trail. What else? Well, the ALE folks claim that they will burn so brightly that even the air and light pollution of Tokyo skies will not be able to suppress their glow. Further more, in case of bad weather it is absolutely possible to call of the artificial meteor shower at least 100 minutes before the scheduled meteor showers on demand!
You Need to Have a Big Budget for Meteor Showers on Demand!
In case you think these meteor showers on demand are exciting, let us remind you once again. An artificial meteor shower will simply kill charm of a natural cosmic firework. If you still think you want to have a show during a special event to entertain your guests, you really really need to be filthy rich. There are two costs you need to think of. First is the development of the CubeSat and then launching it to orbital position. That’s going to cost you just $8.2 million. Second cost you need to think of is the cost of the meteoroids. Each ball or meteoroid will cost $8,100. In case you need the colors tweaked for each ball, the cost will go up slightly more! But hey, you will need at least 50 to 100 of those meteoroids to make the show spectacular. So, you can pull out your calculator and start calculating the total price of a single show!
You want meteor showers on demand? At least we don’t!