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Planetary Resources Announces Crowd-Funded Space Telescope Program

May 29, 2013

UPDATED : 12:30 CDT

Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online

The company best known for its ambitious goal to mine asteroids announced an “unprecedented project” on Wednesday.

Planetary Resources said it would be launching the world’s first crowdfunded space telescope to provide “unprecedented public access to space.” It added that this telescope will allow students and scientists access to the most advanced exploration technology.

The company will be using Kickstarter to help drum up support to build the telescope. It has set a campaign goal of just $1 million.

“This technology would have cost US$100M+ to build and launch less than a decade ago; and today, it will be controlled by students around the world to explore the cosmos,” the company said in a recent statement.

The proceeds for the project will go to launch the telescope, fund the creation of the public interface, cover the fulfillment costs for all of the products and services listed in the pledge levels, and fund the educational curriculum for students. If funds exceed $1 million, then proceeds will go towards allowing more access to classrooms, museums and science centers.

“When we launched Planetary Resources last year, we had an extraordinary response from the general public. Tens of thousands of people contacted us and wanted to be involved. We are using this Kickstarter campaign as a mechanism to engage the community in a productive way.” said Peter H. Diamandis, M.D., Co-Founder and Co-Chairman of the company.

Planetary Resources said its program offers the opportunity for the public to directly participate in cutting-edge citizen science and discovery. It will deliver a resource to thousands of institutions and researchers in need of greater access to space to further their work and rate of scientific discovery.

“In the last 50 years, space exploration has been led by national governmental agencies with their own set of priorities; and now we´re changing the nature of exploration. We´re developing the most advanced space technology ever made available to the public. Let´s explore the cosmos together,” Diamandis said.

Wednesday´s live streaming event included Planetary Resources´ Co-Founders & Co-Chairmans Diamandis and Eric Anderson, as well as the company´s President & Chief Engineer Chris Lewick. At 3:30 Pacific time, a live streaming event will begin with actor Brent Spiner, who plays the Lieutenant Commander Data in the television series Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Planetary Resources announced its plans to mine Near-Earth Asteroids (NEAs) last April. It said at the time that a 1,500-feet platinum-rich asteroid contains the equivalent of all the Platinum Group Metals mined in history. The company has had help from a diverse group of supporters, including Virgin´s Sir Richard Branson, actor Seth Green, actor Rob Picardo (The Doctor), Bill Nye the Science Guy, futurist Jason Silva, and MIT astrophysicist Dr. Sara Seager.

The company announced back in February that its Arkyd-100 Series of spacecraft will be helping in the detection and characterization of potentially hazardous asteroids near Earth. It is creating this spacecraft to be one of the most advanced spacecraft per pound that exists today.


Source: Lee Rannals for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online



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