Artificial Meteor Shower Proposed for 2020 Olympic Opening Ceremonies

The bar for Olympic opening ceremonies has been set pretty high in recent years. If one startup gets its way, an artificial meteor shower could make Tokyo's opening ceremonies in 2020 the most memorable in history.

As Gizmodo reports, the company Star-ALE is vying for the opportunity to show off their man-made meteor technology at the 2020 Olympic games. The so-called "Sky Canvas" pyrotechnics display would involve a micro-satellite designed to fire up to 1000 pellets towards the Earth from space. As they reenter the planet's atmosphere, they'd burn brightly like actual meteors. But unlike real meteors, the pellets would be manufactured with specific metals and chemicals to ignite in vibrant colors, resembling fireworks.

The artificial meteors would burn up approximately 35 to 50 miles above the ground, making them visible across a 120-mile radius.

The technology has yet to be tested in space, but according to Digital Trends, the company has apparently tried it out on Earth by placing pellets in a vacuum and blasting them with air at supersonic speeds. Star-ALE will be launching their first real satellites into orbit next year to put their concept into action. Even if the tests run smoothly, there's no guarantee the show will be included in the opening ceremonies. Just one pellet costs more than $8000 to make, and that's not even taking into account the price of manufacturing a satellite and getting it into space. If the show did go forward as planned, all it would take is some cloudy weather to ruin it—although the company says they can remotely postpone the display once the micro-satellites have been launched.

[h/t Gizmodo]

All images courtesy of Star-ALE.

© 2017 USPS
Pop Culture
Speedy Delivery: Mister Rogers Will Get His Own Stamp in 2018
© 2017 USPS
© 2017 USPS

USPS 2018 Mister Rogers stamp
© 2017 USPS

After weeks of mailing out this year’s holiday cards, postage might be the last thing you want to think about. But the U.S. Postal Service has just given us a sneak peek at the many iconic people, places, and things that will be commemorated with their own stamps in 2018, and one in particular has us excited to send out a few birthday cards: Mister Rogers.

In celebration of the 50th anniversary of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, Fred Rogers’s groundbreaking PBS series that the USPS says “inspired and educated young viewers with warmth, sensitivity, and honesty,” the mail service shared a mockup of what the final stamp may look like. On it, Rogers—decked out in one of his trademark colorful cardigans (all of which were hand-knitted by his mom, by the way)—smiles for the camera alongside King Friday XIII, ruler of the Neighborhood of Make-Believe.

Though no official release date for Fred’s forever stamp has been given, Mister Rogers is just one of many legendary figures whose visages will grace a piece of postage in 2018. Singer/activist Lena Horne will be the 41st figure to appear as part of the USPS’s Black Heritage series, while former Beatle John Lennon will be the face of the newest Music Icons collection. Sally Ride, the first American woman in space, will also be honored.

Can You Spot the Christmas Pudding?

Whether it’s a sheep hanging out with Santa Claus or a panda bear hiding among some snowmen, regular Mental Floss readers know that hidden picture brainteasers are one of our favorite things. And the optical experts at have released a delicious one, just in time for Christmas. Somewhere in the midst of all these holiday-themed goodies above, there’s a holiday pudding just waiting to be discovered. Can you spot it? Your time starts … now.

If you give up, or are the kind of person who reads the last page of a book before the first one and just wants to know the answer, scroll down to see where it’s hiding.



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