Crowdsourcing Privately Funded Space Missions

Remember that scene in Armageddon when this retired Navy guy finds and identifies the asteroid headed to earth and names it after his annoyed wife who has lost him to amateur space observation? What if a whole bunch of those people got together and created a project to watch the sky for maverick asteroids on a collision course with Earth? Well, allow me to introduce you to B612.

It’s possible that the time is coming when we no longer depend exclusively on the government for awe-inspiring space missions. The B612 Foundation is a nonprofit organization whose goal is to construct, launch, and maintain operations of a space telescope that will orbit the sun and monitor the sky for asteroids.

And how is this project being funded? Crowdfunding, of course. What only NASA and the government could do before is now being put into the hands of the people who are fascinated and excited about new space exploration. The leadership team is mainly composed of retired astronauts, former NASA employees and other aerospace technicians who are leading the charge and hoping to launch their telescope by 2017.

But crowd participation doesn’t stop there. The foundation wants to welcome citizens and students to get involved in charting the new asteroid discoveries that will be made every day.

B612 is already soliciting for donations although there is no fixed final cost for the initiative that they are proposing, but if we have learned anything from NASA, a single mission could cost millions of dollars. While the foundation is hopeful, it will take a lot of work to make this auspicious dream a reality.

What do you think about the B612 Foundation? What else can we expect to see moving to more private funding with the advent of crowdsourcing?

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