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Planetary Resources, the asteroid mining company, has embarked on a campaign for the world’s first crowd funded space telescope.

The telescope is aimed at providing unprecedented public access to space and place the most advanced exploration technology into the hands of students, scientists and a new generation of citizen explorers.

Planetary Resources’ technical team, who worked on all of the recent U.S. Mars lander and rover, will provide direct access to an ARKYD space telescope making space widely available for inspiration, exploration and research.

“I’ve operated rovers and landers on Mars, and now I can share that incredible experience with everyone. People of any age and background will be able to point the telescope outward to investigate our Solar System, deep space, or join us in our study of near-Earth asteroids,” said  Planetary Resources’ president and chief engineer Chris Lewicki.

Using Kickstarter, a platform for supporting innovative projects, Planetary Resources has set a campaign goal of US$1 million, which will be used to launch the telescope, fund the creation of the public interface, cover the fulfillment costs for all of the products and services listed in the pledge levels, and fund the immersive educational curriculum for students everywhere. Any proceeds raised beyond the goal will allow for more access to classrooms, museums and science centres, and additional use by individual Kickstarter backers.

Sara Seager, Ph.D., professor of physics and planetary science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology said, “The ARKYD crowdfunding campaign is extraordinary. Not only does the telescope have the technical capability to increase our understanding of space, but it can be placed in orbit for an incredibly low cost. That is an economic breakthrough that will accelerate space-based research now and in the future.”

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