Museum Hosts Planetary Resources Announcement of World's First Crowdfunded Space Telescope Campaign
Museum supports program providing access to an advanced space telescope for students, scientists and a new generation of citizen explorers
SEATTLE, May 29, 2013--At a press conference at The Museum of Flight today, Planetary Resources, Inc., the asteroid mining company, launched a campaign for the world's first crowdfunded space telescope to provide unprecedented public access to space and place the most advanced exploration technology into the hands of students, scientists and a new generation of citizen explorers. The morning announcement was made by Planetary Resources' Peter Diamandis, Eric Anderson and Chris Lewicki, and vlogger Hank Green. The kickoff event in the Museum's Great Gallery was filled with dozens of volunteers staffing computers monitoring the donations. An afternoon community event featured Hank Green and actor Brent Spiner.
Planetary Resources is joined in this adventure by a large group of campaign supporters including The Museum of Flight, Griffith Observatory, Liberty Science Center, Museum of Science and Industry, the Perot Museum, Virgin Galactic and The Planetary Society.
Planetary Resources' technical team, who worked on every recent U.S. Mars lander and rover, will provide direct access to an ARKYD space telescope making space widely available for inspiration, exploration and research. "I've operated rovers and landers on Mars, and now I can share that incredible experience with everyone. People of any age and background will be able to point the telescope outward to investigate our Solar System, deep space, or join us in our study of near-Earth asteroids," said Chris Lewicki, President and Chief Engineer, Planetary Resources, Inc.
Using Kickstarter, a platform for supporting innovative projects, Planetary Resources has set a campaign goal of US$1 million. The company will use the proceeds to build and launch an enhanced ARKYD telescope with an external camera and screen for public use, provide an interface to allow public access to the telescope, and create a variety of interactive educational material. Any proceeds raised beyond the goal will allow for more access to classrooms, museums and science centers, and additional use by individual Kickstarter backers.
Peter H. Diamandis, M.D., Co-Founder and Co-Chairman of Planetary Resources, Inc., said, "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." Diamandis added, "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!"
Eric Anderson, Co-Founder and Co-Chairman of Planetary Resources, Inc., said, "Since the public announcement of Planetary Resources last April, the company has doubled in size, brought on key strategic partners, was awarded numerous contracts and is on track for its primary mission of identifying and prospecting asteroids within this decade."
Pledge Level Highlights:
• Your Face in Space - the #SpaceSelfie: For $25, the team will upload an image of the campaign backer's choice to display on the ARKYD, snap a photo of it with the Earth in the background, and transmit it to the backer. This space 'photo booth' allows anyone to take (or gift) a unique Space Selfie image that connects a personal moment with the cosmos in an unprecedented, yet tangible way.
• Explore the Cosmos: Higher pledge levels provide students, astronomers and researchers with access to the ARKYD main optic for detailed observations of the cosmos, galaxies, asteroids and our Solar System.
• Support Education Worldwide: At the highest levels, pledgers can offer the K-12 school, science center, university, or any interested group of their choice access to the ARKYD for use in interactive educational programming to strengthen STEM education worldwide.
Sara Seager, Ph.D., Professor of Physics and Planetary Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology said, "The ARKYD crowdfunding campaign is extraordinary. Not only does the telescope have the technical capability to increase our understanding of space, but it can be placed in orbit for an incredibly low cost. That is an economic breakthrough that will accelerate space-based research now and in the future."
The campaign will run for 33 days and end on June 30, 2013. Detailed information regarding the campaign is available on the Kickstarter web site.
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The independent, non-profit Museum of Flight is one of the largest air and space museums in the world, attracting more than 500,000 visitors annually. The Museum's collection includes more than 160 historically significant air- and spacecraft, the original manufacturing facility of The Boeing Co., and the world's only full-scale NASA Space Shuttle Trainer. The Museum's aviation and space library and archives are the largest on the West Coast. More than 100,000 individuals are served annually by the Museum's on-site and outreach educational programs. The Museum of Flight is accredited by the American Association of Museums, and is an Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution.
The Museum of Flight is located at 9404 E. Marginal Way S., Seattle, Exit 158 off Interstate 5 on Boeing Field half-way between downtown Seattle and Sea-Tac Airport. The Museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $18 for adults, $15 for seniors 65 and older, $15 for active military, $10 for youth 5 to 17, and free for children under 5. Group rates are available. Admission on the first Thursday of the month is free from 5 to 9 p.m. courtesy of Wells Fargo. McCormick & Schmick's Wings Café is on site. For general Museum information, please call 206-764-5720 or visit www.museumofflight.org
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