About a month ago, Planetary Resources—the company that caused quite a stir a while back when announced its intention to mine asteroids—created a Kickstarter campaign. Their intent with it was not to make money—looking at the investors at the company’s website, they probably do okay in that area—but to offer the public access to one of their small space telescopes expected to launch in 2015, called the Arkyd-100. Since the telescope is intended for the public, the company is asking for one million dollars to crowd fund it.
While this idea seems a little far fetched at first—after all, what can one million dollars buy in an industry that already operates on billions—but if anyone has a chance to pull this off, it is Planetary Resources. Since the company does not need to design the telescope from the ground up, “simply” re-purpose one of their already existing designs, they can send it up with their own fleet of asteroid hunting space telescopes. So, in essence, the team at Planetary Resources offered us the opportunity to hitch a ride with them to space. This, I think, is pretty cool, and apparently I am not the only want thinking that. Twenty days into the Kickstarter campaign, the Arkyd-100 space telescope had surpassed the one million dollars mark, not only giving the project a clear, green light but also marking a significant milestone in citizen science.