Wednesday, 29 May 2013

ARKYD Space Telescope - Take Your Family Photo in Space

This is cool! ARKYD is a crowdfunded project to put a publicly accessible telescope into space. One of the pledges gets you a photo of your choice displayed in space and then photographed so you can get your family photo (or another image of your choice) displayed in space with evidence.

So that's a bit of a gimmick. But it's a cool gimmick! That is a pretty neat thing for a science-mad kid or family to have. Of course the goal is to give people something tangible at a reasonable price point and to gain their interest in following the project.

Other pledges include the opportunity to have the space telescope take a photo of your choice while it's in space.

It sounds wacky doesn't it, and at first I wondered whether it was plausible. But the Kickstarter is by Planetary Resources a company that is working on asteroid mining, its engineers have worked on Mars rover projects including the current Curiosity rover, so they have the credentials. The project is also backed by celebrities including Bill Nye and Seth Green. I don't know what's Seth's science credentials are, but I was a big Buffy fan.

There are also options to donate telescope time for educational use. Now that would make for a very cool school science study.

I love the way this project makes space more accessible. Now is a brilliant time for space exploration. There's been Chris Hadfield's high profile time in space and the Mars Curiosity rover robot. Kids are getting engaged in space in a way that hasn't happened for a while.

ARKYD is an opportunity for kids, families, schools and clubs to feel actively involved in space technology and that's very cool. Lots of other people think so too. As I've been writing this post the pledge total has been heading up and up towards its $1M target, so with 32 days to go it looks likely to succeed.

Of course there are risks with a project like this, but it the space telescope has a successful launch and manages to deliver there will be a lot of excitement.

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