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On-demand shooting stars? Japanese startup dreams big

Lena Okajima, center, founder and CEO of Ale

TOKYO -- Shooting stars, long a product of celestial circumstance, soon could be served up at will, according to Lena Okajima, founder and CEO of satellite startup Ale.

The Tokyo-based venture aims to commercialize the production of "artificial shooting stars" within three years -- in time for the opening ceremonies of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Ale's "Sky Canvas" project will use microsatellites just 50cm square to launch marble-sized particles from around 500km above the Earth's surface, replicating the flashes that comet and asteroid debris produce when entering the atmosphere.

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