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Deep-Space Telescope Project Begins Crowdfunding Campaign

By | May 30, 2013

      Tags: Deep-Space, Telescope, Hubbble, Planetary Resources
      Publication Date: 05/29/2013

      Artist rendition of the Arkyd telescope.
      Image credit: Planetary Resources

      Planetary Resources, a private asteroid-mining company, has unveiled its plans for a new space telescope that would be available to the public. The Arkyd is designed to take high-resolution photos of deep space, similar to the eXtreme Deep Field image captured by the Hubble telescope.

      However, unlike the Hubble, Arkyd will be open to the public for personal and research interests. For the Hubble, a highly competitive selection process takes place where experts pick 200 proposals per year. Arkyd will allow astronomy students and teachers, for example, to access its data.

      For the launch, Planetary Resources is working together with Virgin Galactic, a company currently developing small satellites for low-Earth orbit. As for the manufacturing, reports indicate that Planetary Resources could partner with the Museum of Flight in Seatle, Wash., to make the building process open for public display.

      Even the funding of the Arkyd telescope will be public. The company has started a Kickstarter campaign to take donations from virtually anyone with an Internet connection. According to reports, only two hours after the funding campaign was launched, the project had more than 700 supporters and over $96,000. As of the publishing of this story, the venture had raised more than $400,000.

      Planetary Resources is offering different types of sponsorship for the telescope starting with $10. For example, people who donate $200 or more will be able to point the telescope to the location they choose. The highest donation is of $10,000 or more and involves an invitation of the Arkyd’s launch and the name of that person will be proposed for an asteroid discovered by the telescope.

      The Kickstarter campaign has 31 more days to reach its goal of $1 million, the amount Planetary Resources has said it needs to build, launch and support the Arkyd telescope – a small amount compared to the $1.5 billion needed for the Hubble.

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