Astronomers aren't pleased about a Russian plan to put billboards in space

phys.org | 1/18/2019 | Staff
loranseen (Posted by) Level 3
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It was bound to happen.

While the rest of us look up at the night sky, and wonder at what we're seeing, ponder how it all fits together, and strain ourselves trying to understand how our origins are intertwined with all that we see, others don't. They look up at the magnitude of the night sky and think none of these things.

Hmmm…that - Billboard - Money

Instead they think, "Hmmm…that's a big, empty billboard. How can I make money from it?"

Russian company StartRocket is proposing to use Cubesats, small satellites with inexpensive launch profiles, to put billboards in space. At an altitude of about 450 km (280 miles), the satellites would unfurl a mylar sail about 9 meters (30 ft.) long. A group of CubeSats would work together to create a singe billboard, and the result would be a pixelated billboard with a viewable area of about 50 sq. km., visible in morning and evening twilight, when they catch and reflect sunlight.

StartRocket - Thinks - Billboards - Space - Creation

StartRocket thinks of their billboards in space as the creation of a new media. The company calls them Orbital Displays, and each one would only last about a year. They would be easily visible on clear nights, but not overbearingly bright. They would be about magnitude -8, with the full moon being magnitude -13 and the sun magnitude -27.

StartRocket envisions three uses for their Orbital Display system. The obvious one is advertising. Global companies will have to look seriously at taking advantage of the system, if it ever comes to fruition. Once a competitor starts using the system, others would likely follow suit. The idea may be too tantalizing to resist, from a marketing standpoint.

Use - Entertainment - Idea - StartRocket - Website

Another use is as entertainment, though that idea doesn't seem too well thought out. The StartRocket website says, "ENTERTAINMENT: Displaying complementary messages or images from the orbit during global events for...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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