Well, it’s finally happening. Forty-five years after Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed at the Sea of Tranquility, the Moon is about to become an ad space. The Japanese drink company Otsuka is planning to send a 2.2-pound titanium can filled with “powdered sports drink and children’s dreams” to the Moon, where it will sit for the ages as off-world marketing.
This Moon-marketing mission isn’t as bad as it seems. Sort of. Landing a can on the lunar surface isn’t the primary goal of a mission. It’s part of a sponsorship deal with the Pittsburgh-based aerospace company Astrobiotic Technology.
Astrobiotic is competing for the Google Lunar X prize, a $20-million boon that will go to the first company to land a payload on the lunar surface that can travel at least 1,640 feet and also transmit high-definition images back to Earth. To build a spacecraft like that and buy a spot on a launch vehicle, Astrobiotic needs sponsors, and that’s where Otsuka comes in.
Otsuka is providing Astrobiotic with funding in the vicinity of half a million dollars in exchange for a very specific delivery: the can filled with a powdered version of its popular Pocari Sweat sports drink. The “children’s wishes” come in the form of letters sent to the company, which were etched on silver disks and transported with the can. Otsuka says it hopes the can on the Moon will be like a prize for children, that they’ll all want to be astronauts and be the first to crack open the can of Moon-drink.
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