As much bizarre as it may sound, a Japanese Startup is gearing up to put a billboard on the moon. And, to accomplish this ‘herculean’ task, it has raised a hefty funding too. You would perhaps be baffled at how much it managed to snap up!
Japanese Startup iSpace Technologies Inc. announced its goal to launch a spacecraft into the lunar orbit by 2019, land on the moon by 2020 and build necessary infrastructure therein for a moon-based advertising business after concluding the Series A round of its venture funding.
iSpace got a massive $90 million boost (approx. 10.2 billion Yen) to cover two space flights in 2019 and 2020. The Japanese Startup sees the initial business opportunity mostly in the domain of digital marketing and aims to redefine it by setting up a billboard on the Moon, which will be given on lease to companies vying for their logo to be seen against the breathtaking backdrop of…um, the Earth.
The advertising plans also entail slapping corporate logos on rovers and spacecrafts. Furthermore, upon a successful landing, the space startup will offer a “projection mapping service” to advertisers (basically, large companies) and help them put up a small billboard on the moon’s surface.
According to Takeshi Hakamada, CEO of iSpace, “Human beings aren’t heading to the stars to become poor, that’s why it’s crucial to create an economy in outer space.” He further added, “Among Series A funding rounds, this one is the biggest ever for Japan and the biggest globally for a space-related startup.”
Many premier Japanese companies seem to be keen on kickstarting a lunar economy and have backed the ambitious idea of iSpace.
The Japanese Startup managed to snap up funding from major Japanese businesses as well as government-backed organizations such as TV network Tokyo Broadcasting System Holdings and Japan Airlines apart from the Development Bank of Japan and Innovation Network Corp. of Japan.
Interestingly, this is not the first tryst of a Japanese company with the outer space. In fact, Japanese companies have had a rather intriguing history of fascination insofar as space exploration is concerned. Back in 2014, Otsuka Holdings Co. had announced an ambitious plan to deliver a can of its Pocari Sweat drink to the moon’s surface.
At a global scale, with the likes of Elon Musk’s rocket launcher Space Exploration Technologies Corp. and asteroid miner Planetary Resources Inc., private companies are at the forefront of space development which promises a glimpse of the cosmos plus rich dividends to both shareholders and humanity.
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And, if you were to think that setting up a billboard on the Moon is the last frontier for iSpace, you would be sorely mistaken. Starting 2021, the Japanese space startup also plans to utilize lunar exploration vehicles to search for water which will be turned into hydrogen fuel for supporting a possible lunar settlement.
Furthermore, iSpace has released a “2040 Vision Movie,” wherein it’s depicted how life on the moon will look in a few decades from now as it is dotted with lunar refuelling stations across its surface for supporting moon settlers as well as regular day trips to Earth.
Ispace got its first major break through Google’s Lunar XPRIZE, a coveted competition sponsored by Alphabet Inc. which will award $30 million to anyone who can land and drive a spacecraft on the surface of the moon.
However, despite a target date of 2012 for the first mission, the deadline has been continuously pushed back as many participants have faced technical and financial obstacles.