Already been done

A feasibility study suggests millions of dollars can be made by using fleets of bright cubesats to form advertisements high above Earth. It’s a clearly terrible idea, as it would tarnish our already-threatened views of the night sky.

The purpose of the new paper, published in Aerospace, was to evaluate the “economic feasibility of a space advertising mission that would launch a formation of satellites into orbit to reflect sunlight and display commercials in the sky above cities,” according to a Skotech press release. Shamil Biktimirov, a research intern at Skoltech’s Engineering Center, is the first author of the paper.

Can’t recall who wrote it (maybe Clarke?) but 40 to 60 years ago. Mission to Moon, release a cloud of gas, to show that there is in fact a lunar atmosphere. The cloud will be visible from Earth as it rises into direct sunlight. Woo Hoo!

When the cloud is seen, the curled C and C of a well known brand of soft drink becomes visible – and the ground based satellite technician who had inserted the cardboard cut out to guide the gas was retired and well funded.

Of course, that’s a story. But one Russian rocket (with rad hardened chips provided by me, no less) did go up with a Pizza Hut ad on the side.

20 thoughts on “Already been done”

  1. But one Russian rocket (with rad hardened chips provided by me, no less) did go up with a Pizza Hut ad on the side.

    Yet, you insist you aren’t a Bond villain. Curious.

  2. Steve:
    Yet, you insist you aren’t a Bond villain. Curious.
    Tsk, Tim isn’t a Bond villian, he’s the chap they work for.

  3. “But one Russian rocket (with rad hardened chips provided by me, no less) did go up with a Pizza Hut ad on the side.”

    Please tell us it wasn’t aimed at Ukraine.

  4. Eddy – Tim definitely needs a fluffy white cat. Possibly a fez-wearing henchman and a fully automated volcano lair.

  5. Obliteration of night sky by unnecessary lighting, road lighting, ground advertising, ‘security’ floodlights etc is OK

    Advertising in the night sky is beyond the pale though

    Curious logic

  6. A Bond villain would not have submitted to the 6 months raking over of my life that is required to gain access to the necessary licence.

  7. “Samizdata
    A blog for people with a critically rational individualist perspective”

    But not for people who can’t abide reading stuff printed in white on a dark background i.e. not for me. Twits.

  8. John – there’s probably at least five people called “Steve” on the internet.

    I don’t even know what Sammy’s Data is tho.

    Tim – that sounds exactly like something a Bond baddie might say when protesting his innocence, shortly before he demands One Million Dollars from the UN! (sorry)

  9. That Bond baddie better have all the correct paperwork including an Environmental Assessment, a Modern Slavery assessment and a Diversity report, have to make sure those henchmen aren’t being exploited and suitably represent all genders/races/etc

  10. Also Heinlein, The Man Who Sold The Moon. Got funding from a Pepsi expy by showing he could advertise Coke on the moon, got funding from the Coke expy by showing he could advertise Pepsi on the moon.

  11. ‘… that would launch a formation of satellites into orbit to reflect sunlight and display commercials in the sky above cities,”

    And how much to remove the clouds?

  12. Sounds like a work of genius. One can well imagine the arts grads at an advertising agency buying into this

  13. But then you lot have bought into Heinlein’s coke advert.
    Think it through. The “gas” has to have particles big enough to reflect light. Any smaller than the wavelength of light, it’s transparent. The particles have mass & the moon’s surrounded by vacuum. So once released they begin falling towards the moon at around 1.5 m/sec². Diameter of moon’s around 3500km. So if you want to put a coke sign on the moon with a single point of propagation, the particles furthest from the point of propagation have to get there before the one’s nearest have dropped back to the moon’s surface. Escape velocity’s only 2.4 km/sec. So you’d get something like a half sphere wave front would take about 800 seconds to reach the moon’s edge & then dissipate into space. There’s no way you can get your advertising sign to remain static.

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