For those of us that have dreamed of wielding cosmic power (basically everyone, right?) and doing good for the planet (again, mostly everyone?): our time has arrived. Asteroid mining startup Planetary Resources is in the final stretch of a massive Kickstarter campaign to fund one of their ARKYD 100 space telescopes for public use.
The good part: the project has already surpassed the $1 million goal and continues to move toward fantastic stretch goals. This means the telescope is going to space!
The bad part: you only have until Sunday to back the project and get your own time on the telescope!
Yes, you read that correctly. Starting at the $200 level, you can get access to the telescope and point it at anything (except the sun) and get a photo. This might be the coolest present you can give someone (“Hey, I got you time on a space telescope for your birthday. That’s how I say ‘I love you’ in Geek.”). For the truly ambitious, you can put your name on a telescope or be like The Oatmeal and get to name an asteroid!
For the slightly less ambitious, Planetary Resources offers a fun, unique perk they call a “space selfie.” They are promising to project a photo of your choice onto their satellite and take a picture of it with an external camera. [YES, I am doing this! NO, I haven't figured out what picture yet.]
As a bonus “perk” for passing the $1 million mark, the crew at Planetary Resources is offering a free PDF so that you can make your own papercraft ARKYD 100. Rainn Wilson built two of them in 10-seconds on a recent Google+ Hangout with Peter Diamandis. Can you beat that?? Download the file and let your kids practice while you go buy some telescope time.