ARKYD space telescope for public access – Kickstarter pledges rocket upwards

Planetary Resources is a company planning to mine asteroids. Initially, though, they will place small observatories into earth orbit to search for candidate near earth orbit asteroids to which they will later send probes for closer inspection. On Wednesday they announced a program to dedicate one of their space observatories to public access and education.

The ARKYD project will launch in 2015 a space telescope into orbit specifically to allow students, schools and the members of the general public to direct its observations. They opened a Kickstarter campaign to raise $1M to fund the project.

One of the cool perks for a $25 pledge is a Space Selfie in which an image that you give them will be displayed on the “satellite’s external screen overlooking Earth. We will then take a picture from our camera arm and send the image back to you.”

The concept and the perks seem very popular as the 32 day campaign has already reached in the first two days nearly $565,000 from 5674 backers. [Update June.1.13: The totals are currently at  $625,714 nd 6,234 backers.]

Here is a video for the Kickstarter:

And in the video below,

Jason Silva, the host of National Geographic’s Brain Games talks about what the ARKYD space telescope means to him and the world. You can follow Jason on Twitter @JasonSilva

Help fund citizen science and make space exploration a reality for everyone! Support the ARKYD Kickstarter

And here is a video with Planetary Resources co-founder Peter Diamandis and Planetary Society chief Bill Nye: