Company seeking money to build space telescope

May 29, 2013 by Donna Gordon Blankinship
Peter Diamandis, co-chairman of Planetary Resources, an astroid mining company based in Bellevue, Wash., talks to reporters Wednesday, May 29, 2013, in Seattle about his company's plans for the world's first crowd funded space telescope. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

A U.S. company that wants to send robots into space to mine precious metals from asteroids has found another way to use the expensive technology it's developing for its space venture.

Inc. announced Wednesday it plans to launch an extra in early 2015 to be used by the general public to take pictures of their favorite constellations, or to do their own research for the benefit of the world.

People who want to join the operation will have to contribute toward the $1 million price tag. For instance, for $200 a member of the public can aim the telescope once and take a picture. For $450, they can take three pictures.

People also can pay more and donate their telescope time to school children or professional researchers.

Planetary Resources co-founder Peter Diamandis said the Bellevue, Washington-based company hopes schools and science museums will be the primary beneficiaries of the project.

"Our goal is to democratize access to space," he said.

Officials with Planetary Resources, an astroid mining company based in Bellevue, Wash., talk to reporters Wednesday, May 29, 2013, in Seattle about their plans for the world's first crowd funded space telescope. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

The company doesn't need the public's money to support its mining efforts, Diamandis added. They see the donations as more of a confirmation that people are really interested in taking part in .

After Planetary Resources announced its plan to mine asteroids more than a year ago, the company was flooded with public response to the project.

They received some 50,000 emails from people who wanted to get involved. About 3,500 filled out a five-page job application. Another 2,500 wanted to invest.

The public fundraising effort is their way of harnessing this information and "building a community who can go on this epic journey with us," Diamandis said.

Volunteers send out messages on social media on behalf of Planetary Resources, an astroid mining company based in Bellevue, Wash., Wednesday, May 29, 2013, in Seattle to raise awareness of the company's plans for the world's first crowd funded space telescope. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Diamandis also wants to make a public statement about the way entrepreneurs are taking over from the governments that have paid for all such work in the past.

"Space is a business," he said.

Planetary Resources' main business remains asteroid mining, Diamandis emphasized.

Explore further: Mysteries of space dust revealed

4.8 /5 (5 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Space mining startup set for launch in US

Apr 21, 2012

A startup evidently devoted to mining asteroids for metals is to make its public debut on Tuesday in the US northwest city of Seattle, seeking to redefine the term "natural resources."

US company aims to 'harvest' asteroids

Jan 22, 2013

A US company said Tuesday it plans to send a fleet of spacecraft into the solar system to mine asteroids for metals and other materials in the hopes of furthering exploration of the final frontier.

Study looks at making asteroid mining viable

Sep 26, 2012

There's been a lot of buzz in the media lately about mining asteroids, largely brought on by the introduction of Planetary Resources, Peter Diamandis' new venture into the industry. But is this business proposition ...

The most profitable asteroid is...

May 17, 2012

With the recent announcement of the asteroid mining company, Planetary Resources, some of the most-asked questions about this enticing but complex endeavor include, what asteroids do we mine? Which are the ...

Recommended for you

Mysteries of space dust revealed

4 hours ago

The first analysis of space dust collected by a special collector onboard NASA's Stardust mission and sent back to Earth for study in 2006 suggests the tiny specks open a door to studying the origins of the ...

A guide to the 2014 Neptune opposition season

9 hours ago

Never seen Neptune? Now is a good time to try, as the outermost ice giant world reaches opposition this weekend at 14:00 Universal Time (UT) or 10:00 AM EDT on Friday, August 29th. This means that the distant ...

Informing NASA's Asteroid Initiative: A citizen forum

Aug 28, 2014

In its history, the Earth has been repeatedly struck by asteroids, large chunks of rock from space that can cause considerable damage in a collision. Can we—or should we—try to protect Earth from potentially ...

Image: Rosetta's comet looms

Aug 28, 2014

Wow! Rosetta is getting ever-closer to its target comet by the day. This navigation camera shot from Aug. 23 shows that the spacecraft is so close to Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko that it's difficult to ...

User comments : 0