Planetary Resources, the Bellevue-based asteroid-mining company, met its Kickstarter campaign goal of $1 million on Thursday, as more than 12,000 backers pitched in to launch a customized version of the company’s Arkyd-100 robot spaceship with an external camera into near-Earth orbit.
The fundraising got off to a soaring start, raising more than $100,000 in just two hours. The chance to use a special online interface to point the telescope and snap photos of objects in the Solar System was certainly appealing. For $25, backers could order a personal image of themselves that Planetary will capture with Earth in the background.
There are still nine days left on the Kickstarter, although it doesn’t seem like Planetary will reach the $2 million stretch goal, which would enable the telescope to hunt for alien planets.
Planetary, founded in 2009, is already backed by some of the biggest names in technology and aerospace and is planning to send spacecraft into orbit to ultimately swarm asteroids to mine natural resources like water and platinum group metals. This public campaign, however, will allow the company to involve the public more directly.
For a Friday morning laugh, here’s the company’s Kickstarter video translated into Klingon. Planetary’s love for Star Wars and Star Trek is not a secret — the inspiration for naming the Arkyd is from Star Wars, while Brent Spiner (Data from Star Trek) — helped the company launch the Kickstarter last month.
Previously on GeekWire: Kickstarter campaign for public space telescope reaches $100K in two hours