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How the ARKYD telescope may look in orbit.
(Image: Planetary Resources)
ARKYD Space Telescope
Private space exploration firm Planetary Resources has launched a campaign that relies on crowd funding in an attempt to raise $2 million to get its tiny ARKYD space telescope off the ground and into space. The company, with backers that include Larry Page and Howard Schmidt of Google, plans to use the telescope as a tool for educators and individuals to explore the universe. Plus, the company will introduce itself for its ultimate goal: Travel to asteroids and bring valuable natural resources back to Earth.
Here's how the ARKYD space telescope works. After making a contribution for the telescope's cost, classes, schools, or individuals can request an image of an extraterrestrial object and have it taken by the space telescope. It's suggested that the use of Google Sky will help in making an image request. You can also obtain "space selfies" (see page 2).
The original goal of the campaign, which began on May 29 and will end on June 30, was to raise $1 million to help launch the ARKYD satellite, create a user interface, and fund an education curriculum. After having raised over $885 million with about three weeks to go, Planetary Resources has extended its goal to $2 million by the end of the month. The company said the extra cash will be used to fund better space selfies, add exoplanet search capability to identify planets outside our solar system, and enable "citizen scientists" to make new discoveries.
Planetary Resources was founded in 2009 by Eric Anderson and Peter H Diamandis, and main backers of the company include Google's Page and Schmidt, and Ross Perot, Jr of Hillwood and The Perot Group. Partners include film-maker James Cameron. Planetary Resources boasts an experienced technical staff, many of whom participated on NASA's Mars Lander projects.