When Planetary Resources first announced its ambitious plan to start mining asteroids, the company also mentioned that the rest of us might get a little piece of the action with access to a network of space telescopes. Now, Planetary has announced that it might try and do it from the get-go, through Kickstarter.
The first phase of Planetary's asteroid mining plan involves sending up a whole bunch of space telescopes (a swarm, according to the company) to spot said asteroids and determine which ones are worth going after. While it's at it, Planetary Resources is pondering whether it should just toss an extra satellite into the mix (funded through Kickstarter) and let Joe Q. Public take a crack at it early:
We've been tossing around the idea of adding additional capacity in our production run, and either offering you access to a portion of our of our orbiting spacecraft — or — if there's enough demand, actually build you an additional Space Telescope for your own use.
Here are some potential pledge levels:
- $100 for a chance to direct the Arkyd-100 Space Telescope and take a high-resolution photograph of anywhere on Earth that you choose, or some other celestial body. Similar space telescopes charge more than $10,000 for a directed photo like this.
- A desktop-scale model of the Arkyd-100 Space Telescope.
- A half-day at the controls of a satellite, allowing you to take up to approximately 50 photos from space.
- An exclusive invitation to the Planetary Resources Launch Party — with the whole Arkyd Team and potentially some of the Planetary Resources board members.
We should stress that Planetary Resources is just toying with this idea at the moment. In the meantime, for your personal space exploration needs there's always ArduSat, which has been going totally gangbusters to the extent that it's going to try and double the size of the satellite.