A Friday story in the Washington Post reports that a Japanese drink company called Otsuku plans to conduct an out of this world advertising stunt by placing a can of one of its drinks, Pocari Sweat, on the moon. The specially designed canister containing the drink in powdered form will be launched on a Falcon 9 rocket in October, 2015. The titanium canister will be designed to endure the stresses of space travel. These include “the impact of launch and landing, temperature shifts, and higher levels of electromagnetic radiation from the sun.”
The container will be deposited on the moon by a lunar lander being developed by a company called Astrobotic Technology as part of the Google Lunar X Prize competition. The competition has a number of participants which propose being the first private group to land a rover on the lunar surface. The Otsuku Company has declined to reveal how much it is paying to send their product to the moon.
Pocari Sweat is described as a healthy drink that replenishes electrolytes lost in perspiration. It is popular in the Asian market and the United Arab Emirites. In a way it greatly resembles Gatorade.
Space travel and advertising, even of drink products, have had a long term relationship. Tang created a lot of marketing based on the fact that it was the official powdered drink of the astronauts during the 1960s. While, contrary to popular belief, Tang was not invented for the space program, the product enjoyed a tremendous boost in sales as a result of its association with the early space program.
More recently Pizza Hut became the first company to “deliver” a pizza to astronauts in space. This consisted of a vacuum sealed pie sized to fit into the small oven that was on the International Space Station at the time, about the size of a personal pizza. The pizza was topped with salami because it was decided that pepperoni did not stand up to NASA’s 60 day testing program.