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Planetary Resources Crowdfunds A Space Telescope

By Marc Boucher
May 30, 2013
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Planetary Resources Embarks on First Crowdfunded Space Telescope, Planetary Resources
Planetary Resources, Inc., the asteroid mining company, has launched a campaign for the world’s first crowdfunded space telescope to provide unprecedented public access to space and place the most advanced exploration technology into the hands of students, scientists and a new generation of citizen explorers.
Planetary Resources Falls Back on Kickstarter For Funding, earlier post (2012)
“At the ISDC conference just a few weeks ago Eric Anderson from Planetary Resources was positively bragging about how much money they had.”
Keith’s note: It seems a little odd for a company like Planetary Resources to brag in public about its financial resources, list its billionaire investors at every given opportunity – and then hype a big announcement which was, in essence, “send us your money”. Well, people have responded – in an impressive fashion. Thus far the current tally for a few hours’ work is just under $150,000over $190,000 $235,000 $321,000 – that’s more than 10% nearly 20% 25% 33% of their goal of $1,000,000.
Not bad at all – indeed its rather impressive – especially when you consider that the Golden Spike Company took 70 days to raise only $19,450 out of a planned $240,000. Planetary Resources has raised the entire sum Golden Spike originally sought – and they did so in less than 12 hours. They have 32 days left to reach their goal.
Having helped with the successful Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project and the AIA “We Are the Explorers” crowdfunding campaigns, I can suggest that the answer is simple: fire up people’s imagination. Then tell them what you want to do, why it is important, explain how their contribution can help – and offer them something of value in addition to just thanking them for their money. When you get that balanced right, people will respond. However when you don’t explain yourself, people won’t give you much of anything. Not much of mystery there.
Oh yes – the Planetary Resources people really need to work on their media relations skills. At their first event last year they charged all invitees for their meal – all while promoting the billionaire backing they had. At today’s event their webcast had no offsite media interaction (i.e. few questions) and the webcast backfired such that when there actually was a webcast the participants looked like they were doing Max Headroom impressions and sounded like they were stuttering underwater. Its not hard to do this stuff. I did it every day for several weeks from Everest Base Camp.

SpaceRef co-founder, entrepreneur, writer, podcaster, nature lover and deep thinker.