A Man-Made Meteor Shower at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics: Wow!

jets drawing the olympic rings 1
From the official report of the Tokyo Olympic Committee, The Games of the XVIII Olympiad Tokyo 1964

It was one of many proud and emotional moments for the Japanese, as 80,000 in the National Stadium stood for the playing of the Japanese national anthem at the Opening Ceremonies of the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games. And then, breaking the crowd murmur and piercing the crisp blue Autumn sky were five jet planes of the Japanese Air Self-Defense Force. The crowd looked to the sky in awe to see the five jets skywriting the five rings of the Olympic movement.

Victor Warren of the Canadian field hockey team told me “it was magic! It was a beautiful start to a beautiful day.”

The jets over that Tokyo sky on October 10, 1964 represented precision, artistry, modernity and a profound understanding by the Japanese that the Olympics deserved big moments.

Will 2020 have a similar moment?

How about creating a man-made meteor shower?

Star ALE man mde meteors

A Japanese start up called Star-ALE (not the Manchester beer) is hoping to pull off the moment of the Tokyo 2020 Opening Ceremonies. The leaders of Star-ALE aren’t talking about launching rockets into the sky, but dropping man-made meteors from space! They call this spectacular piece of performance art SkyCanvas. “Making the sky a screen is this project’s biggest attraction as entertainment. It’s a space display,” said Star-ALE founder and CEO Lena Okajima.

Star ALE orbit

What Star-ALE plans to do is to launch a series of microsatellites that will hold some 5,000 to 1,000 specially-created pellets. These pellets will circle about a third of the circumference of the earth before they begin their spectacular fiery burn into earth’s atmosphere some 35 to 50 kilometers above land. They plan to employ a variety of chemical concoctions that will result in a wide range of colors streaking the sky.

Star ALE colors

Star-ALE writes on their website that they plan to launch their first satellite in 2017, launching a new one every year after. By 2020, they expect to bring the heavens down on Japan for a spectacular start to the XXXII Olympiad.

Star ALE area of visibility

Watch the concept video below to visualize the future.