Remember the Million Dollar Homepage, an effort by a British student to raise $1 million by selling ad space, one pixel at a time, on a web page. That effort was wildly successful (even if the page looks like a pointillist’s nightmare), netting Alex Tew his $1 million and spawning countless similar, if generally less successful, efforts.
One of the latest efforts is BuyMeToTheStars.com, by Michael Halls-Moore, a grad student working on a PhD in hypersonics at Imperial College London. Halls-Moore is trying to raise £1 million to help pay for a ride into space, either on SpaceShipTwo or its orbital successor. (He acknowledges in the site’s FAQ that he only needs a little over a tenth of that £1 million for a suborbital flight on SS2, but he’d really like to save up for an as-yet hypothetical SpaceShipThree flight.)
Unlike the original Million Dollar Homepage or many of its clones, the site is not filled with a garish collage of tiny ads. Instead, advertisers buy stars or larger nebulae or galaxies. A handful of advertisers have signed up right now, so that most of the constellation Orion is clearly visible, netting Halls-Moore a total of £170. He’s also gotten a little bit of media attention, including a press release from his university this week.