Everybody prepare for maximum “I don’t want to live on this planet anymore” thoughts because there is a Russian ad agency that wants to launch billboards into space that will be visible from the ground. And before you dismiss this endeavor as pure sci-fi schlock, consider the fact that PepsiCo has already partnered with the company launching the space ads, with the intent of advertising its Adrenaline Rush energy drink.
The future is so
Futurism picked up on the story of the space ads invading the skies above us, which comes out of Mother Rossiya. A company called StartRocket—which sounds like a free video game you’d get with a PlayStation—is behind the space ads, and aims to decorate (perhaps mar?) the twilight morning or evening skies with ads for corporations, brand logos, and even emergency messages from governments. Although “emergency messages” does seem like one short leap away from, y’know, propaganda.
The reason the ads or other messages will only be visible during morning or evening twilight hours is because of the design of the “billboard.” The advertisements, which obviously won’t be on anything close to a real billboard, will be made up of a series of cubesats (miniature satellites) that will deploy Mylar sails, which will, in turn, reflect sunlight. Each cubesat reflecting sunlight with its sail will make up one “pixel” of the rearrangeable system that will generate the ads. The twilight time slot for the ads will be due to this need for sunlight bouncing off the sails, as well as a darkened sky.
As mentioned, PepsiCo is already apparently on board with the idea as it looks to advertise its Adrenaline Rush energy drink. According to PepsiCo, the ad will be used to promote Adrenaline Rush as well as a “campaign against stereotypes and unjustified prejudices against gamers.”
StartRocket wants to launch its space billboard—which it refers to as an “Orbital Display”—by 2020 and begin displaying ads between 250 and 310 miles above sea level by 2021. No real proof-of-concept ads have been inserted into the sky yet, although the agency does claim that it launched one of its reflectors via helium balloon, and it was indeed visible from the ground.
It’s hard to say if StartRocket really will be able to fill the twilight firmament with advertisements (there will probably be tons of regulatory issues and protests from astronomers), but if the McDonald’s logo replaces the Moon, we may have to follow Professor Farnsworth to a new world.
Image: Futurama via The Morbotron
What do you think of these space billboards? Do they sound like an absolute nightmare or is this kind of advertising simply inevitable? Let us know in the comments!