Japan to launch satellite that will jettison metal pellets almost sounds like a satellite-mounted shotgun

Very few people look up into the night sky and really think about what is going on up there with all those 2,271 satellites in orbit around earth. Those satellites break down, parts break off, some satellites are hit by space debris; there are spy satellites, earth observation satellites, military satellites, communications satellites, weather satellites, broadcast satellites and navigational satellites. Whereas the British protected their trade routes all over the world on the oceans, who is protecting trade in space with satellite based communications where trillions of dollars in worth of transactions are sent through satellite links? It is estimated there are more than 20,000 objects in space larger than 10cm orbiting earth including satellites. It is further estimated there are more than 500,000 bits and pieces between 1cm and 10cm in size. It has been suggested earth is being sealed inside a shield of shrieking metal moving at 29,000 km/hour.

To deal with all this space junk shrieking around earth at unbelievable speeds, the Japanese have come up with a satellite that will be launched into space within the next two years. This satellite once in earth’s orbit, will jettison blueberry-sized metallic balls, sort of like a space-based fireworks display. The Japanese are calling this “experiment” an “artificial meteor shower.” When the pellets are released they will hit the earth’s atmosphere and when they burn up re expected to put on a dazzling artificial meteor shower. If there isn’t already enough space junk shrieking through earth’s orbit at 29,000 km/hour, the Japanese are going to launch another satellite that will jettison thousands of blueberry-sized pellets? The satellite will eject the pellets at 350 kilometer altitude which is higher than most satellites now in orbit. How are the Japanese going to be able to control the pellets direction without compromising other satellites in orbit? Or maybe the Japanese are developing a type of satellite weaponry here, sort of like a satellite-mounted “shotgun” approach for hunting and targeting “enemy” satellites? Under the pretext of deflecting space junk are the Japanese developing a space-based satellite weapon here?
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Source: National Geographic

Get Ready for Artificial Meteor Showers

A Japanese company aims to create on-demand sky shows by 2018. Here’s how it would work.

The Perseid meteor shower lights up the night sky in August 2015. Photograph by Sipa/AP

By Michael Greshko

June 14, 2016

On an evening in the not too distant future, the night sky may be filled with shooting stars made by human hands.

Natural meteor showers occur when Earth plows through trails of debris shed by passing comets. When this celestial schmutz slams into our atmosphere at breakneck speeds, the debris burns up and creates fiery streaks of light.

Now, if a Japanese start-up called ALE has its way, a satellite capable of generating artificial meteor showers will be in orbit sometime in the next two years. From 314 miles (500 kilometers) above Earth’s surface, the orbiter will shoot metal spheres the size of blueberries into the upper atmosphere.

As these particles move across the sky at roughly 17,400 miles (28,000 kilometers) an hour, the spheres will burn into brilliant crisps—painting the night with colorful streaks on demand.

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