It was once the final frontier, mysterious and unknown. Now space could become yet another domain in the battle between corporates for brand recognition.
Jim Bridenstine, Nasa's top official, has revealed that the body is considering letting companies buy the naming rights to its rockets and spaceships.He has also suggested that Nasa astronauts - officially government employees - may be allowed to appear on the side of cereal boxes.
It is part of a drive towards "commercialisation", seen by its backers as a way to bring down the costs of space exploration while boosting efficiency.However, the embrace of the private sector has created a backlash among some former astronauts, who likened the proposals to the sound of "nails on a chalkboard".
Bridenstine, the Nasa administrator, floated some ideas for how commercialisation could work at a meeting of the Nasa advisory council last month.He said: "Is it possible for Nasa to offset some of its costs by selling the naming rights to its spacecraft, or the naming rights to its rockets?"
He added: "I'd like to see kids growing up, instead of maybe wanting to be like a professional sports star, I'd like to see them grow up wanting to be a Nasa astronaut, or a Nasa scientist.And so how do we make that a reality?... I'd like to see, maybe one day, Nasa astronauts on the cover of a cereal box, embedded into the American culture."