Planetary Resources, a company based in Bellevue, decided to bridge the gap between the planet and the cosmos with the world’s first crowd-funded, publicly-accessible telescope. Their Kickstarter campaign recently raised over $1.5 million from 17,614 people in just 33 days.
Much like a PBS telethon, donors at certain levels got kick-backs from contributing to the cause. Only instead of the box set of “Anne of Green Gables,” people have the opportunity to put a “selfie" in space or donate their telescope time to educational institutions.
A video on their fundraising page lays out the plan. A team of engineers, who have built every US lander sent to Mars in the last 15 years, is making a small, technologically advanced space telescope to study asteroids and other space wonders. As Chris Lewicki, president and chief engineer states it, “We know how to put stuff into space.”
Personalities like Bill Nye and Richard Branson are getting behind the project, the latter of which has recently joined Planetary Resources as a core investor.
The Kickstarter campaign has officially closed as a success, but Planetary Resources has extended the time period where the public can make a pledge and get their very own space selfie.