Could I Use The Moon as a Billboard?

Let’s say someone invents a ridiculously high powered projector. With this new tech, Coca-cola decide to do a Christmas publicity stunt in which they illuminate the face of the moon with their branding.

Is there an international law that would stop them? What would the penalty be?

Optional extra question: how close are we to the technology needed to achieve this? I’m guessing out powering the sun would be pretty difficult but of course there’s always the new moon.

I’m just going to answer the optional question. We are nowhere near capable of doing this. Probably best answered with this ‘what-if’ xkcd.

Coca-Cola? No, everyone knows that 6+ beat them to it.

This was discussed here; it doesn’t seem remotely possible with current technology.

Since the above 2006 post, it appears technology for visible light continuous lasers might have improved 2x, to about 1,000 watts. This is still many orders of magnitude lower than required to project a pattern on the dark (or “new”) moon which would be visible from earth. Projecting a pattern visible on the lighted part of the moon would be even more difficult.

I see what you did there.

You might enjoy reading “The Face” by Jack Vance in which someone far away and far into the future does that.

How about if we put a satellite in lunar orbit to do the projecting? Is that doable, or at least in any way easier?

“The man who sold the moon” by Robert Heinlein

I think we’re enough posts in that I can observe that a “Fiendish Astronaut” is wondering about profitable uses for the moon.

Well played, NASA man. Well played.

Even if we had the technology to do it, I would think the FAA wouldn’t be happy about it…


That’s why when I saw a story titled “6+” I knew just how the plot was going to be resolved.

Now in a Fredric Brown story, someone used the stars for a billboard.

Arthur C. Clarke’s Venture To The Moontells how a scientific experiment conducted on the moon - creating a giant sodium cloud that is made luminescent by the sun’s rays and visible from Earth - is sabotaged by “the greatest advertising coup” in history. The cloud takes the shape of a product’s logo. The product isn’t directly named but contains a number of C’s and O’s.

Fiendish, I’m guessing this inspired your question, right?

You’ll have to erase the giant “CHA” that’s already on there first.

Does anyone else remember a news story from some years back about Pizza Hut wanting to etch their logo into the moon with a giant laser?

Did someone actually write a story with that title?

Buy[sup]1[/sup] Jupiter, you’re right. That’s not just a pie in the sky.

[sup]1[/sup] Not a typo. Who gets this one?[sup]2[/sup]

[sup]2[/sup] More stories on this theme.

I don’t understand this 6+ thing. Could someone explain, please.

(I’m British, BTW. Maybe a part of American popular culture that isn’t well known over here.)
And, yes, I’ve read Asimov’s Buy Jupiter.

Does it matter that it’s not physically possible right now? OP’s question is within a context where it is feasible.

In Robert Heinlein’s The Man Who Sold the Moon, Harriman is going all out to raise funds for his moon shot. He cons the CEO of Moka-Cola into contributing by entering his office wearing a lapel pin for 6+, his main competitor. Harriman claims that 6+ (name based on 7-up, the soft drink) has offered money to place their logo on the moon with carbon black. So the CEO pays more for Harriman to not do that.

Thanks for the info.