Startup looks to paint the sky with artificial meteor showers

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Dear ALE:

Perhaps we’d be better served by bringing the junk that’s already up there down (which could provide an equally scintillating show), instead of by sending more up.

Thank you,

-Some Guy on the Internet


Sure, it’s stupid and expensive, but is it also a third thing?


This plan is foolproof, I tell you. Fool proof.


I wonder what astronomers think about this plan. Seems like emitting that much light pollution might screw with a lot of ground-based observations.


You gonna let some nerd get in the way of your fireworks? No! This is America! Sure, we didn’t think of it, but by God when it hits the market we’re going to gobble it up like a deep-fried stick of butter on the 4th of July in a monster truck driven by a guitar-soloing bald eagle dressed like George Washington!


I dunno awesome but also no thank you. Shooting stars on demand? want to propose to your gf? need a back drop of shooting stars? what’s the going rate? Another way for people with too much money to flaunt it in front of the entire world? How long until they can do some sort of skywriting? “Drink coke” no thank you fuck that noise.


I wonder if they could make some kind of coating that as it descended and ablated could emitt different spectrums of light, so they could fire off a a set of them with varied coatings and time them to change colors as they descended and write “Drink Coke.” Then Pepsi could work on a weaponized anti-metor-satellite, and we could take the Cola Wars to space…

If only Shaddack was here to entertain if this was really possible in detail.


I was thinking exactly the same. Maybe they could feed their pellet gun with space junk?


Learn astronomy and lets bring back dark skies. Plenty to see up there without light pollution.


Geeze, a lot of negativity in this thread.

I think it sounds pretty awesome. Not all satellites are sent up for the best of purposes, after all–and most have very specific functions beneficial only to strict subsets of people.

But here we got one that will produce something for the entire world (or big chunks of it at least) to marvel at. It’s unique (so far), ambitious, and at least potentially a joyful, uplifting shared experience with no national or cultural boundaries.

Yeah, in the long run this kind of thing will need to be regulated – I don’t want artificial light displays drowning out the night sky, or showing ads, or making astronomers jobs harder. But I’m going to choose not to be cynical just yet about freaking man-made shooting star showers.

I think it would be amazing.


I just skip ahead to the future of advertising by meteorite that nobody can really stop. It just seems like another way for the wealthy or corporations to invade everything. I can imagine a future out camping with my family where this crap just intrudes. The sky is shared by everyone and it should be no different than asking the neighbors to turn down the music at night. What do you do if those “neighbors” ruining your evening are a bunch of rich kids from Shanghai who hired a Japenese company to shoot metal balls in the atmosphere to celebrate their dog getting a second iWatch?

Get off my field of view!


Celebrate the fact that the continental US doesn’t have night at the same time as Japan?

That said, this could be a super annoying thing to do with other countries when they’re dealing with night and you want to advertise there…


I do understand your concerns, but that kind of thing is a long way off–and will surely be regulated by the time it becomes a real potential annoyance.

Right now, we’re talking about a limited patch of sky being a backdrop to numerous colorful streaks for a few minutes. Like man-made fireflies silently streaking overhead, or distant fireworks. No more obtrusive than a plane pulling a banner across the night sky, or a blimp drifting by.

Excellent point!

I’ve only known for a few years that the average meteor in a shower is ~100mg. Knowing this makes the whole idea seem much more feasible.

No thanks. I travel considerable distances to appreciate the UK’s ‘Dark Sky’ locations, to marvel at night skies devoid of light pollution; totally alone; just me and the universe. Truly amazing.

Sounds dreadful.

For those who want that, there’s no end of opportunities for such shared experiences. Just remember that there are plenty of people who specifically want to escape collective ‘enjoyment’, and ****ing leave us alone.

That’s too obtrusive.

And "we’re talking about a limited patch of sky [though you also mentioned it affecting big chunks of the global population] being a backdrop to numerous colorful streaks for a few minutes" per display - but even if only a small proportion of people can afford/want to launch displays, that still adds up to hundreds of displays at a time - it could be near-constant, at least from, say, dusk until midnight in a given launch location.


By big chunks I’m not talking half the globe, more like a hundred mile radius maybe? For them to burn, the particles have to be touching atmosphere. I don’t think your remote locations are in much danger of seeing these things.

Now, when they finally get around to putting multi-color LED array fields on the moon (crosses fingers) it might be a different story.

This scales so much better than the plan to have giant igneous heads swallow the sun while everyone suffers the same 4 unwaking dreams. Web advertising is saved! [Ships tentpole proposals for ‘1001 uses for a noncompliant president’.]