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This Space Available

We have written before about advertising in strange places — on fresh eggs, on airplane barf bags, on time itself. There is now an effort to advertise in [the place we used to think of as] the final frontier: space. The Wall Street Journal‘s Andy Pasztor has this to report:

California Rep. Ken Calvert, ranking Republican on a House Science subcommittee overseeing NASA programs, surprised an industry conference in Colorado Springs, Colo., by announcing plans to introduce a bill that would make “NASA space assets available for commercial advertising and marketing opportunities.” If that ever becomes law, companies and universities might be able to market themselves by plastering logos on equipment or sponsoring equipment such as cameras on the International Space Station.

But here’s the interesting part: NASA wants to do this to build up funds to give cash prizes to space innovations created by private entrepreneurs. Kind of like the X-Prize. Here is a menu of the current contests NASA is running.