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The competition heats up: The Kickstarter campaign by the private company Planetary Resources has made its $1.5 million goal.
That campaign reached its $1 million goal on June 19, opening the way for one of Planetary Resources’ Arkyd-100 space telescopes to be used for educational and personal imaging projects. The biggest crowd-pleaser was a $25 offer that will let backers take “space selfies” — orbital pictures showing a display on the telescope with an image submitted by a backer in the foreground, and Earth in the background.
The Asteroid Zoo plan was [the $1.5 million] stretch goal for the campaign. Planetary Resources will partner with Zooniverse to create a game-like online program to identify asteroids, modeled on other Zooniverse citizen-science efforts such as Galaxy Zoo, Moon Zoo and Planet Hunters. Users would be recruited to join in, and then trained to spot the telltale signs of an asteroid’s movement — for example, by “blinking” multiple images of the same patch of sky, or using more sophisticated techniques. The search would draw upon more than 3 million images from the Catalina Sky Survey.