As if constant advertisements online weren’t already enough, Russian scientists are proposing unavoidable ads IRL. In an extreme case of gonzo marketing, orbital advertisements have been proposed to make the future a corporate hellscape.
Are you ready for orbital advertisements?
Reported by Futurism, researchers from Moscow-based technical institute Skoltech revealed plans to fill Earth‘s orbit with ads. This isn’t exactly a new concept; last year, a new way of filling space with adverts was proposed to Elon Musk’s SpaceX.
This idea, published in science journal Aerospace, proposes sending a huge satellite formation into space to display an acquiescent. These orbital advertisements would be able to display an ad over an entire population centre.
Of course, this form of advertisement would not be cheap. The scientists behind the idea believe that it would cost around $65 million per launch. That’s over 9-times the price of a Super Bowl 2022 commercial slot.
“We’ve been studying some of the more technical aspects of space advertising for a while now," said scientist Shamil Biktimirov. "This time we looked at the economic side of things and, as unrealistic as it may seem, we show that space advertising based on 50 or more small satellites flying in formation could be economically viable."
How big would these adverts be?
As expected, the Russian scientists’ proposal consists of massive satellites in order to beam images to Earth. Each pixel would consist of a huge 350-square-foot solar sail; huge formations would be used to display digital adverts.
The orbital advertisements wouldn’t simply be locked to just one brand, unless they forked over a lot of money. Instead, the plan is to alternate adverts as the satellites reach different population centres.
The biggest issue with this approach is the fact that the satellites work via solar reflection. This means that adverts will likely only work in bright daylight, not so much nighttime.
However, daytime or nighttime, the presence of sky-blocking adverts is wholly dystopian. Many are already worried about drone-based ads flooding the night sky, we don’t need to worry about satellites as well.