If you think giant billboards on roads were bad, wait till you see a giant billboard in space that will display ads to people on Earth.
A Russian startup named StartRocket is the brainchild behind the concept, called “The Orbital Display”. The Orbital Display will orbit the Earth at an altitude of 400-500 km altitude and will reflect light from Sun to show 3-4 messages per day.
Considering that space is visible to everybody that is potentially 7 billion people who will (be forced to) watch the ads in the sky.
The display will be made out of CubeSats, (yes, the same technology that was used to relay data from the Mars rover) with each CubeSat acting like a pixel.
While the advertisers will definitely rejoice in the new-found ability to (forcibly) show people their ads, the fact that the orbit around the Earth is already cluttered has led several astronomers to criticise the project.
Launching art projects like this with no commercial, scientific, or national security value seems unwise…Space is getting increasingly crowded. There are over 20,000 objects with orbits in the official public catalog maintained by the U.S. Air Force. Less than 10 percent of those objects are active satellites—the rest are dead satellites, old rocket bodies and parts of spacecraft.Patrick Seitzer, Astronomy professor at University of Michighan
The ads will only be visible during certain hours, similar to how moon is visible only for a few hours and the project is expected to be ready by 2021.