Put Your Ads Where Space Begins

Ad placement is very important. Advertisers pay more for their ads to be shown "above the fold" - that is, on the top half of a newspaper, or in the immediately-viewed part of a web page.

How much would you pay for your ad to be shown at the edge of space? It turns out that there is a company that can do just that.

JP Aerospace is currently lining up customers for their next flight in April. Your advertisement will be carried aloft to 100,000 feet - and photographed against the boundary between the Earth and outer space.

(JP Aerospace ads at the edge of space)

JP Aerospace has the technology; they flew a series of "PongSat" missions that provided an opportunity for thousands of students to create tiny ping-pong ball-sized experiments. To date, more than 1800 PongSats have flown to the edge of space. The USAF has also worked with them to explore the idea of near-space maneuvering vehicles.

You might be disappointed, however, to learn that your "space billboard" is only the size of a business card. Photographed properly, it still looks like space tourists might see it on the way up.

Science fiction writers have worked with the idea of advertisements carried aloft, or projected on to clouds, so they could be seen by millions. Jules Verne wrote about atmospheric advertising, ads reflected from the clouds, in 1889.

On a lighter note, science fiction writer Alan Nelson wrote about the perils of having full-size advertisements that could actually flown high, but seen from Earth. In his 1953 short story Soap Opera, he created the idea of a kind of permanent sky-writing. Unfortunately, the letters didn't stay up as long as you might hope:

Automatically Spurgle gazed up too. The letters, still firm, still strong and perfectly formed, seemed to be settling earthward, undisturbed by the brisk breeze that scudded across the field...

Silently the three walked over to the slogan. Spurgle kicked at the letter G... It was a monstrous white thing, ten feet thick, half a city block long, composed of a flexible elastic substance that resembled something between jello and foam rubber
(Read more about permanent skywriting)

Maybe it's better that JP Aeronautics not clutter up the sky with enormous ads. Business card-sized will be just fine, thank you.

Read more about video ads at the edge of space.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 1/19/2007)

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