Billboards in the sky, is it real? Space ads will be ‘so popular people would hate them’
The stars in the night sky will very soon be outshone by the glare of billboards – and in the not-too-distant future. That’s at least what Russian startup StartRocket has in mind as the company has announced plans to install a giant display at an altitude of nearly 500 kilometers.
What might look like a prank is, in fact, a fairly thought-out project. The company intends to launch 200 small satellites called cubesats that would constitute a sort of artificial constellation beaming with a commercial image or a message.
“Satellite reflectors use sunlight directing it towards the Earth so the cubesats satellite pixels will be turned on and off when we need while the entire display moves into the orbit showing messages or images,” project leader Vladilen Sitnikov told RT.
While using solar power is the cubesats’ primary energy source, the lightweight space objects are also equipped with engines so that they can be removed from orbit and burnt into the atmosphere once they've served their time.
Sitnikov sees huge potential in the idea, speculating that “in the nearest future space will be a continuation of our living environment.” The project’s prototype has already been developed by engineers from Moscow-based Skoltech university while the full implementation is deemed possible by 2021.
The project’s commercial prospects are indeed boundless, agrees legal and media analyst Lionel. Talking to RT, he predicts the technology will be extremely popular, it will “drive people crazy” and they will eventually hate it. But despite the commercial value, other questions arise.
Who owns space? If I’m somewhere and I look up at some obnoxious advertisement and I object to it do I have a right of objection? Can you imagine wars being started by this?
Meanwhile users online have already slammed the company’s effort to add some ads into the night sky. Some angry comments emerged as the video presentation of the draft was uploaded online. “Just how preposterous can a human be?” one user wondered while another one wished the company to “burn in hell.”
Scientists are also casting doubts on the venture. “Launching art projects like this with no commercial, scientific, or national security value seems unwise,” University of Michigan astronomy professor and space debris expert Patrick Seitzer said, indicating that “space is getting increasingly crowded.”Also on rt.com Long night? Space junk could make dark sky a reality, scientists warn
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