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Space-Mining Company Proposes Rentable Space Telescopes

| 26 Jun 2012 17:01
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Planetary Resources would like to sell you quality time with its space telescope.

A few months ago, space-mining startup company Planetary Resources announced that it had secured enough investment to start scouting near-Earth asteroids for signs of valuable, and potentially mineable, minerals. Now, the company says it's almost ready to launch its Arkyd-100 space telescope - and that if you've got a few dollars spare and feel so inclined, dear reader, you're invited along for the ride.

Peter Diamandis, co-founder of Planetary Resources, outlined the idea on the company's blog. What he wants to do is arrange a Kickstarter fund that would allow regular space fans to rent space telescopes for a short time, for instance, or use them to take pictures. A few of his ideas include:

- $100 for a chance to direct the Arkyd-100 Space Telescope and take a high-resolution photograph of anywhere on Earth that you choose...or, some other celestial body. Current space telescopes charge more than $10,000 for a directed photo of that resolution!

- A half-day at the controls of a satellite, allowing you to take up to approximately 50 photos from space.

- An exclusive invitation to the Planetary Resources Launch Party - with the whole Arkyd Team and potentially some of the Planetary Resources board members.

Diamandis and his company seem very keen to get this idea off the ground, and to find out exactly what it is, if anything, consumers might want from such a project. "To offer you a chance to actually get involved, we've been tossing around the idea of adding additional capacity in our production run, and either offering you access to a portion of our of our orbiting spacecraft - or - if there's enough demand, actually build you an additional space telescope for your own use," wrote Diamandis. Whoa.

"We know that you have some great ideas, and we want to hear them!" concludes Diamandis, inviting visitors to post their ideas and upvote the ideas of others on Planetary Resources' blog.

Aside from anything else, this move has the potential to demonstrate the less-frightening-than-Weyland-Yutani side of the privatization of space. Sure, they're after profit; but part of that is bringing costs down, something which could well trickle-down to the non-spacefaring among us. If this project works out, consumers could purchase personalized pictures of space without having to remortgage their homes. Call me a too heavy a space-fan, but well, that just sounds like fun.

Source: Planetary Resources

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