June 18, 2019

The Universe Is Going to Be a Billboard

“Imagine you’ve stepped outside on a crisp, clear autumn evening. Ah, the beautiful night sky! The awe of the cosmos! How very small we are in this vast universe, tiny specks on this pale blue dot, lucky to exist in this geological instant that Earth is hospitable to life. Truly, the sky gives us the gift of perspective—wait, is that the Pepsi logo?

It could be, at least starting in 2021. Earlier this month, Russian company StartRocket confirmed to Futurism that it was working on launching satellite ads to be viewed in the night sky. Its first client, the company said, was PepsiCo. A PepsiCo rep later confirmed to Gizmodo that the company did partner with StartRocket for an “exploratory test” advertising an energy drink but had no plans to continue advertising in space. It’s unclear whether StartRocket may have more clients lined up.

In a video detailing its vision, StartRocket’s ads rise in the sky behind the Golden Gate Bridge, the Eiffel Tower, a Bali temple, London’s Tower Bridge, and Arctic icebergs, competing with the aurora borealis. (StartRocket’s website depicts a dystopia that I cannot possibly capture in words.) The ads would be projected by a constellation of satellites orbiting at about 280 miles above Earth, each equipped with light-reflecting Mylar sails.”

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