Noah J Nelson on Wednesday, May. 29th
Planetary Resources is a company founded on the promise of space mining: extracting resources from asteroids and providing havens for sociopathic androids. Whoops… that later part is only in the movies.
The company's development cycle has led them to an interesting moment: they have the know-how to launch a small orbital observatory–the Arkyd (pronounced ahrk-kid)– and pursue one of the company's passions: making "space exploration accessible to everyone".
To this end they've started a Kickstarter that's aiming to raise $1,000,000 to get that telescope into space, and they're using the Internet Generation's most reliable character trait–narcissism–to get there.
Starting at just $25.00 backers will be able to… well see for yourself.
(Digital) SPACE SELFIE — Take a selfie in space. You upload your creative self expression (any picture) and we’ll capture that image on the satellite, with the Earth as the background. We will take the photos in the order pledged, so get yours first! You can track the countdown to your #spaceselfie on our app. Your photo will be sent to you, and (if you want) shared out on our membership site! NOTE: T-Shirt add-ons are also available! — We will also provide you with a pledge certificate shortly after the end of the campaign, acknowledging that your space selfie is in queue. Makes a great gift for the space advocate among your friends and family!
While this is completely ridiculous it is a bit more grounded than the whole "name a star after your loved one" thing.
There's also some real social good that can come out of a publicly accessible space telescope. It will be possible to grant the telescope time backers purchase to non-profit science centers and universities.
(Come on, I wouldn't be writing about this if it was a purely cynical endeavor.)
$1,000,000 is a big goal… but this is about SPACE! The project has already cleared over $81,000 in the first few hours thanks to word of mouth.
If you have particularly deep pockets, Planetary Resources sells "full and fractional use" packages on Arkyd 100 models. "Fractional use" models start at $30k. Why go cheap? Get one of your own.
No word on if Planetary Resources can equip your telescope with lasers or mass drivers.
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