A Food App Has Made Its First Delivery in Space
This weekend, Uber Eats expanded their delivery radius by making their first-ever food delivery in — wait for it — space. “When you’re living on-board the International Space Station [ISS], you can’t just whip out the [app] and get your favorite pizza delivered into orbit. Or can you?” an article on CNet remarked.
Instead of sending one of their usual delivery personnel, the company sent Yusaku Maezawa, a Japanese billionaire, to deliver ready-to-eat canned Japanese foods like “boiled mackerel in miso, beef bowl cooked in sweet sauce, simmered chicken with bamboo shoots, and braised pork” in a brown paper bag on December 11.
While food delivery in space may sound astounding, it also fits with the norms of the “era of space tourism” we appear to be on the brink of. This is precisely why, at this point, billionaires going to space for fun and adventure is hardly news. Maezawa is just the latest entrant to the club Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos, are already members of. Perhaps, they bond over their love for using space to give themselves an “ego boost” while disregarding its environmental consequences.
Turns out, corporates, which are already not too well-known for caring about the environment, are looking to space as the newest marketing frontier. However, this isn’t a new development. Pepsi had, reportedly, spent $5 million to have an oversized replica of their soft drink can hover outside the Russian Space Station — as early as 1986. Just last year, the international cosmetics brand, Estée Lauder was in talks with NASA to conduct a photo shoot for their skin-repair serum onboard the ISS — so they could use the Earth as the backdrop.
In fact, you’d probably be surprised to learn that Uber Eats wasn’t the first to deliver food in space. Pizza Hut already did it in 2001.
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Evidently, advertisers have taken the advice of “thinking out of the world” a little too literally. “[M]any creative thinkers and advertising leaders agree that ‘Space Marketing’ can captivate pop culture and spawn a new philosophy for product placement,” an article on Forbes stated. So, perhaps, that’s a dystopian reality we might soon find ourselves in.
However, as the Forbes article also notes, “Industries must assess cost-benefit analysis, physical distribution, and sustainability of products and promotional props when analyzing opportunities that surpass the planet and eclipse conventional communication.”
The environmental repercussions of billionaires’ “ego trips” are grievously high — the rockets require a huge amount of propellants to help them overcome gravity and make their way out of the Earth’s atmosphere. “For one long-haul plane flight, it’s one to three tons of carbon dioxide,” Eloise Marais, an associate professor of physical geography at University College London, had told The Guardian, comparing it with the amount of carbon dioxide required for one rocket launch — which is 200-300 tonnes.
But since the alarming figures are unlikely to dissuade the “rich boys [with] their space toys,” scientists are now working on alternative ways to launch rockets into space — by catapulting them out of the Earth’s atmosphere like a “slingshot,” for instance.
In the meantime, I’m wondering why the food delivery app I rely on is telling me my delivery address is outside their delivery radius. Perhaps, I need to pack my bags and move to the ISS if I want food from my favorite restaurant.