Japan is considering an artificial meteor shower to kick off the 2020 Olympics
The Opening Ceremonies of the Olympics are a big deal for the host nation. It isn’t just a way to get people excited for the games, it’s a way for the host nation to show the rest of the world that the Olympic committee made the right choice in picking them. Those nations like to brag a bit, of course, with increasingly grandiose and impressive displays.
In 2008, China set the bar higher than ever before with 2,008 drummers working in unison. Sure, the drummers were half a step away from slavery and they were forced to wear diapers while practicing to avoid pesky things like breaks, but it was cool to watch. In 2012, London couldn’t quite get away with as many human rights violations, but it did have James Bond parachute into the Olympic stadium with the Queen, so there’s that. It’s unclear what Brazil is planning for this year – maybe it will start the games by impeaching its president. That would be tough to top.
For 2020, Japan is considering a plan that could conceivably top all of them. It’s considering a proposal from a company called ALE Co., which would fire off hundreds of man-made meteors into the atmosphere for a light show that would be unrivaled.
What could possibly go wrong?
If Japan approves, ALE would begin by launching its own “Sky Canvas” satellite, filled with a unique chemical payload of “source particles.” The satellite would them fire them off one by one. The resulting shooting stars would be brighter than a real meteor, bright enough to be clearly seen through the light-polluted skies of Tokyo. The show would be bright enough to be seen as far away as 62 miles from Tokyo’s National Olympic Stadium.
The biggest question about this whole thing is how much it may cost. Each of the source particles reportedly costs $8,100, a number you would need to multiply by dozens, possibly hundreds. And then there’s the cost of the satellite and it launch to consider. Given that ALE is also pitching this concept to other major world events, including the Dubai World Cup, that cost would likely be somewhat mitigated though.
So far ALE’s Sky Canvas system has only been tested under lab conditions, but it is confident it could have a working prototype ready for testing in 2018. If Japan approves, the satellite would then be loaded and ready for the opening ceremonies on July 24, 2020, and it would be an amazing show – assuming it doesn’t rain, of course. Minor detail.