Sunday, June 30, 2013
PLANETARY RESOURCES (RISKS INCLUDE DINOSAUR RAMPAGE)
Planetary Resources (PRI) is a company working to capture an asteroid, bring it back to Earth and capture the mineral resources on the asteroid. It is one of the founding/entrepreneurial/pioneering companies for commercialization of space.
The list of officers, developers and investors is a "who's-who" of technology and space experts and zillionaires.
As a sideline, and to popularize what they are doing, they have begun a Kickstarter campaign to partially fund putting a telescope in space, and providing opportunities for some institutions (and some people) to do some astronomy from a space based telescope. The Kickstarter campaign will not fully fund this project. Users of the telescope may have to pay more for serious time on the telescope, and PRI is likely to be spending a lot of its own money to support this initiative.
In describing the risks of this project, on Kickstarter, the usual "we may not be responsible because" boilerplate/small-print/legalese does include the phrase..."events or conditions beyond PRI’s reasonable control such as explosion, acts of nature, war, civil disturbances, acts of civil or military authorities, legal or regulatory changes, asteroid impacts, alien invasions, dinosaur rampages or other causes beyond PRI’s control."
The goals of the company and this Kickstarter campaign are terrific, very important, and very exciting.
The Kickstarter campaign, unfortunately, got off to a terrible start with a truly lame kickoff event that seemed modeled after (but was less interesting than) a blender/juicer infomercial; and was so technically inept that the live streaming didn't work, and the edited version, later, left out some critical audio.
The project has also been under some acute questioning as to how valuable it will be for anyone or any institution that is not really well-funded. In other words, critics ask whether it is genuine citizen science.
The Kickstarter site has been getting better and better since it was launched with more and more valuable-sounding information and clarifications.
The Kickstarter campaign is coming to a close.
It is going out with another attempt at a live streaming event.
UPDATE insert: 10:15 6/30 -- Today's live video webcast was way way better than the first. First of all, it worked. It was produced by Spacevidcast (spacevidcast.com) that did a good job running it. As a telethon or infomercial it was fairly successful, putting the Kickstarter campaign over $1.5 M. The content was better than the first time, but still lacking in imagination and depth. It did have a moderately natural geekness... which is good: though limited in general appeal, it is honest both for much of its target audience as well as the participants. The show -- or future shows about the project -- could really use a good writer and a good director. I do hope the projects -- both projects: the mining project and the ARKYD citizen science project -- succeed!
HERE IS THE LINK TO THE LIVE STREAMING EVENT CLOSING THE KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN:
HERE IS THE LINK TO THE KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN ITSELF: (IT CLOSES LATER TODAY; IF YOU WANT TO PARTICIPATE, DO SO NOW!)
HERE IS THE LINK TO THE PLANETARY RESOURCES HOME PAGE: