Advertising from the sky: this is literally what a Russian start-up company has planned for the future and have given the name StartRocket. In practice however, we’re not sure everyone is too pleased about the idea, especially astronomers…
The young company is actually planning to turn the sky into a giant advertising billboard.
But how you might ask? By ‘simply’ putting a series of cubic nano-satellites, also known as cybesats, into low orbit – between 400 and 500 kilometres high in the sky. Once up in orbit, each of these devices would act as a pixel, sending sunlight towards the earth. As a result, this would form an image or writing that would be visible to everyone at dusk.
7 billion potential clients
‘We are creating a media – the orbital display – with potential audience coverage of 7 billion people on the planet,’ boasts the young Russian entrepreneurs on the start-up company’s website.
‘The display orbits on 400-500km altitude and lets us deliver 3-4 messages/images a day, having a viewable area of 50km2 using the sun as a light source,’ states those responsible for the project at StartRocket.
The project, that first made its appearance in May last year, should become finalised by 2021 at best. This gives the teams enough time to test the technical solutions that they’ll need to implement and find necessary investors to finance this crazy project.
A threat to astronomy
Many critics have been calling this concept, ‘a crazy idea’ and this opinion is mostly held by astronomers. Some scientists are worried that this orbital advertising campaign will compromise their observations and future research.
‘It’s a threat to the ability to do astronomical research from the ground,’ astronomer John Barentine, from the International Dark-Sky Association, told Astronomy Magazine.
‘Every one of those moving blips of light in the night sky is something that can interfere with our ability to collect photos from astronomical sources,’ continued the scientist.
A myriad of applications
Despite this resistance, the Russian entrepreneurs seem to have lots of ideas when it comes to the large range of uses for their project. Of the possibilities, is entertainment, ‘displaying complementary messages or images from the orbit during global events for entertaining purposes,’; communication, ‘bringing necessary information to the public,’; and even in cases of emergency, ‘when phones don’t work, during zero visibility, power cuts and catastrophic emergencies – governments can use the display for urgent notifications for the population,’ lists those responsible for StartRocket on their website.
As admirable as their intentions may be, we are still a bit confused about the whole idea… Advertising from the sky, but putting a halt to astronomical advances: what an unfortunate downside!
Check out the video above for more on this futuristic venture...