New space Kickstarter: Pocket Spacecraft on a Mission to the Moon

Here’s another space Kickstater getting started: Send your own Pocket Spacecraft on a Mission to the Moon! by Pocket Spacecraft — Kickstarter

Here’s a press release:

Sending Your Own Spacecraft to the Moon Just Became a Reality

Thursday June 27th, 2013: A new project to give thousands of people the opportunity to design, build and launch personalised spacecraft and send them to the moon has begun.

Now anyone can become a citizen space explorer and take part in a mission to send their own Pocket Spacecraft to the moon. At a cost of just GBP 99 (~EUR119/JPY15499/USD159), explorers who back the project will be able to personalise their own spacecraft by adding a picture or message direct from their favourite social media or game profile or create their own unique design. They can do this from their smartphone or web browser and will be able to monitor progress throughout their mission with their own Pocket Mission Control app. Users will be able to track the progress of their spacecraft as it is designed, built in the lab and travels through space. More technical explorers will be able to write software and even customise the on-board hardware enabling them to conduct their own unique experiments whether mapping the solar wind or playing laser tag – in space!

Pocket Spacecraft are disks with flexible electronics, smaller than a CD and as thin as a piece of paper, that will be loaded into an Interplanetary CubeSat mothership to hitch a ride into space on a commercial rocket. The mothership will then set off to the moon and when it arrives many months later, the fleet of Pocket Spacecraft will be photographed as they are released to land on the moon to complete their mission.

Anyone can take part in the mission via the crowd-funding site Kickstarter (search for ‘Pocket Spacecraft‘ or visit ). Since launch in 2009, Kickstarter has raised more than $500 million for various projects from over 3 million individuals. Pocket Spacecraft only needs support from 2000 or more people to allow the mission to go ahead.

The global team of scientists, engineers and designers behind Pocket Spacecraft have already created two dozen open space projects for the mission since 2009, supported by more than a hundred volunteers from twenty countries (and counting) led by co-ordinators in Europe (Bristol, UK) and America (Pasadena, CA, USA).

Michael Johnson, founder of Pocket Spacecraft, co-created the first space mission funded on KickStarter (KickSat – due to be launched by NASA later this year), and influential workshops such as the Interplanetary CubeSat Workshop at MIT, and the Keck Institute for Space Studies Small Satellites: A Revolution in Space Science workshop at Caltech.

“By backing this mission people will revolutionise space exploration and space science” enthuses Michael. “By democratising interplanetary space exploration we will create a generation of young explorers who can use the same affordable methods to explore Mars, Venus and beyond. We’re building tools so that one day every child will be able to send their own spacecraft on a robotic field trip in space”.

The campaign will run for 60 days and end on August 26, 2013. Detailed information regarding the campaign is available on the KickStarter website:

Asteroid Zoo citizen science program – stretch goal for Planetary Resources Arkyd Kickstarter

Planetary Resources and Zooniverse plan a collaboration – Asteroid Zoo – if the Kickstarter campaign for the  ARKYD space telescope for the public reaches $1.7M:

Planetary Resources Calls on Citizens of Earth to Aid in Planetary Defense

Company Announces New Crowdfunding Goal to Create “Asteroid Zoo”
for Public to Search for Dangerous Near-Earth Asteroids

Bellevue, Washington – June 27, 2013 – Planetary Resources, the asteroid mining company, has announced a collaboration with Zooniverse that will empower citizen scientists to aid in the search for dangerous near Earth asteroids (NEAs) and support planetary defense.

Planetary Resources is in the final stretch of its Kickstarter campaign, ARKYD – the world’s first crowdfunded space telescope for the public, which has generated nearly 15,000 supporters and US$1.2M in pledges. If pledges reach US$1.7 million in the three remaining days of the campaign, Planetary Resources and Zooniverse will create Asteroid Zoo, a program to allow students, citizen scientists and space enthusiasts to find potentially hazardous asteroids (PHAs) at home and help train computers to better find them in the future.

Visit Planetary Resources’ Kickstarter Page to Help Reach this Goal:

“Planetary Resources values the power of the connected mind; when working together, we can accomplish much more than any of us can do alone,” said Chris Lewicki, President and Chief Engineer, Planetary Resources, Inc. “We’re creating this program to harness the public’s interest in space and asteroid detection, while providing a very real benefit to our planet.”

Chris Lintott, astronomer at the University of Oxford and Zooniverse Principal Investigator said, “Zooniverse volunteers have already inspected more than a million galaxies, discovered planets and kept an eye on solar storms. We’re looking forward to working with Planetary Resources to make sure citizen scientists everywhere can make a real contribution to spotting asteroids, too.”

It’s been 66 million years since scientists believe a 10-kilometer asteroid slammed into the Earth, leading to the extinction of the dinosaurs. Today, there are approximately 620,000 objects that are actively tracked in our Solar System, which represents merely one percent of the 60 million asteroids estimated to orbit the Sun. The NEA population of 1 km+ asteroids is approximately 860, over 90 percent of which are known and 155 of which might be described as extinction-level/dinosaur-killing PHAs. It is currently estimated that less than one percent of smaller asteroids (less than 100m) have been found. None of these currently pose a threat to Earth, and while many of these asteroids are small, they are capable of regional disaster, such as massive damage to a metro city.

Modeled after Zooniverse’s popular Galaxy Zoo and other astronomy projects, Asteroid Zoo will allow the public to search through terabytes of data collected by Catalina Sky Survey (CSS) for undiscovered asteroids in a fun, game-like process from their personal computers. The public’s findings will be used by scientists to develop advanced asteroid-searching technology for telescopes on Earth and in space, including the ARKYD. Of all the asteroids ever discovered, 93 percent were found in the last 15 years and nearly half of the near-Earth asteroids were discovered by CSS.

Eric Christensen, Principal Investigator for the University of Arizona’s Catalina Sky Survey stated, “We’re excited to open our archive of more than three-million images to citizen scientists around the world, and look forward to seeing what surprises are hiding in the data set. The results of this effort will provide invaluable feedback that we can use to make CSS a better survey.”

Defending our planet from PHAs is also a top priority for NASA, which recently announced a new grand challenge of “finding all asteroid threats to human populations and knowing what to do about them.”


About Planetary Resources

Planetary Resources, Inc. was founded in 2009 by Eric Anderson and Dr. Peter H. Diamandis. Our vision is to establish a new paradigm for resource utilization that will bring the Solar System within humanity’s economic sphere of influence. The company will conduct low-cost robotic space exploration beginning with the Arkyd Series of space missions that will identify the most commercially viable near-Earth asteroids. These initial missions will assist the company in enabling the retrieval of raw materials from these select asteroids, including water, precious metals and more.

Planetary Resources is financed by industry-launching visionaries, three of whom include Google’s CEO Larry Page & Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt; and Ross Perot, Jr., Chairman of Hillwood and The Perot Group; who are committed to expanding the world’s resource base so humanity can continue to grow and prosper for centuries to come. Some of the company’s partners and advisors include the Bechtel Corporation; film maker and explorer James Cameron; former Chief of Staff, United States Air Force General T. Michael Moseley (Ret.); and Sara Seager, Ph.D., Professor of Planetary Science and Physics at MIT. Members of the company’s technical staff have worked on every recent U.S. Mars lander including Spirit, Opportunity and Curiosity, and include other key non-aerospace and safety-critical disciplines. For more information, please visit

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Eric Davis, warp drive, wormholes and all that

Physicist Eric Davis talks about the possibilities of realistic warp drive and wormholes for space travel:  Why Warp Drives Aren’t Just Science Fiction –

Here’s an earlier article: Warp Speed, Scotty? Star Trek’s FTL Drive May Actually Work –

And here is an interview with Davis and two other scientists looking into such possibilities: Dr. Eric W. Davis, Dr. Richard Obousy, Dr. Harold Sonny White – The Space Show with Dr. David Livingston