This morning I woke up to some digital twittering (by the way the real birds should start in about two weeks with their spring concerts) and saw a project called “Pocket Spacecraft”.
It seems that a team of scientists and enthusiasts from a number of universities is kickstarting a project to test out the possibilities of crowd-funded space exploration. Using the attractivity of social media, they propose, in short, that one can buy a spacecraft smaller than a CD and subsequently follow it online or with your smartphone on it’s journey throughs pace. You can chose in which projects your spacecraft will participate, how it will look like and what individual message you want to imprint on it. As far as I saw, they’ll be doing two researches in the near future: testing how these things could land on a planet with atmosphere (earth) and gather data from the moon.
This is pretty original and a fine way for enthusiasts to lay their hands on a field, which normally is way outside the reach of the layman and even the scientist not affiliated with a suitable organization. Your contribution can take the shape of 9 pounds or several thousand, and they’re offering possibilities of participation growing with them: it’s possible to this project for education, as pure fun or you can even write your own code and design your own hardware for it. Here’s the link and some photos of the spacecraft: