A Kickstarter project that allows you to take a picture of yourself (or your cat) from space
Extraterrestrial mining company, Planetary Resources has been counting down the days on its Twitter feed to unveil of a big secretive announcement.
Could it be the discovery of a new space civilization?! A revolutionary form of interplanetary propulsion?! Am engineering breakthrough that will make a space elevator possible!?! As it turns out, it is the announcement of a new Kickstarter that will allow you to take a picture of yourself from space.
The campaign aims to fund a fleet of orbiting space telescopes, which—for donations as small as $25—will give users the chance to take their own “space selfie.” A space selfie is a photo of a photo taken from miles above the Earth. Expect a lot of cat pics in space to come out of this.
If the Kickstarter literature is a little too TL;DR-y, here are the main deets. The company is looking to raise $1 million by June 30. The money will be used to launch and maintain a fleet of bread-box-size ARKYD satellites that the company will use to identify potentially mineral-rich asteroids to be exploited—down the line—for their bounty. Here's a video explanation by Planetary Resources:
How the photography happens
In addition to bleeding-edge optical equipment designed for the cosmos, the ARKYD will come equipped with an external screen and camera arm. This will allow users to upload an image of themselves (or whatever they want) to be taken against the backdrop of Earth from several miles up. Thus: space selfies and a floodgate of cats-in-space pics.
Larger donators get perks like high-definition and printed space selfies or even the ability to record a video space selfie at the $2,500 level.
Those who kick in upper-tier donations will also be given the ability to direct the ARKYD and decide which images it will capture (conversely, donors can also donate their ARKYD time to educational facilities).
In addition to the funds for launching and maintaining the ARKYD program, the Kickstarter funds will be used to create an easy-to-use interface that will allow anyone (read: those without advanced engineering degrees) to control the satellite as well as “an incredible, interactive educational experience that can be used by schools anywhere, to enable students to experience space in a way that’s never been possible.”
As of 4:00 PM EST (1:00 PM EST), the Kickstarter has already collected over $125,000.
While our species remains frustratingly unable to cash the check written by decades of science fiction, for now, we can settle for a picture of us in space. But, to reiterate, there WILL be cat pics in space. You watch.
Here’s video of Planetary Resources CEO Peter Diamandis waxing philosophical and inspirational about the march of technology and then discussing the ARKYD with Bill Nye, of Science Guy fame.