Planetary Defense, Future Of Space Travel Could Hinge On Kickstarter

Planetary
Sweetie187/Flickr

Planetary Resources, the group of world leaders charged with building the ground floor opportunities for a space travel industry, needs our help. One of those opportunities involves mining asteroids, believed to hold riches beyond belief. Developing technology that will enable travel to those pots of gold is already a daunting task, but the real concern is finding those asteroids in the first place. Luckily, Planetary Resources has a plan.

This week, Planetary Resources announced plans to empower citizen scientists to aid in the search for potentially hazardous asteroids (PHAs) and support planetary defense. Funded by the ARKYD Kickstarter (if it reaches $1.7 million by Sunday, and you can help make that happen), Planetary Resources will partner with Zooniverse to create Asteroid Zoo, a program to find potentially hazardous asteroids (PHAs) at home.Asteroid Zoo will allow students, citizen scientists and space enthusiasts to search through terabytes of data collected by Catalina Sky Survey (CSS) for undiscovered asteroids in a fun, game-like process from their personal computers, and help train computers to better find them in the future.

Sound interesting? Want to have a hand in forging the future of space travel for all? Check out this video from Planetary Resources with Chief Asteroid Miner Chris Lewicki:

PayPal Galactic Makes Buying Stuff On Your Space Trip Easy

PayPal Galactic
paz.ca/Flickr

So you’re on your way to Mars and forgot to pay a bill back on Earth. Before today, there would really be no way to do that, what with interplanetary currency still undefined. No problem. Now, on its 15th anniversary, PayPal announced the launch of PayPal Galactic and there is indeed a way to make universal space payments.

“Trips to Mars, the moon, even orbit will require we provide astronauts and astro-tourists with as many comforts from home as possible, including how to pay each other,” said astronaut/author Buzz Aldrin in an announcement made with PayPal President David Marcus reported by Laboratory Equipment.

PayPal Galactic addresses concerns of the SETI Institute and Space Tourism Society about how to prepare and support the future of space commerce. Working with PayPal, leaders in the space industry will address real life questions ranging from what currency will look like in a cash-free interplanetary society to the evolution of risk and fraud management.

“Whether it’s paying a bill, even helping a family member on Earth, we’ll need access to money. I think humans will reach Mars, and I would like to see it happen in my lifetime,” said Aldrin.Right now the need for PayPal Galactic exists, with astronauts manning the International Space Station year-round. “Within five to 10 years the earliest types of ‘space hotels’ and orbital and lunar commerce will be operational and in need of a payment system,” said John Spencer, founder and president of the Space Tourism Society.

Yet another good reason why space travel will happen in your lifetime; Buzz Aldrin, 83, is banking on it.

Planetary Resources To Change How We Explore The Cosmos

planetary resources
JD Hancock/Flickr

Planetary Resources is a group of world leaders that are building the ground floor opportunities for a space travel industry. Not long ago, in “One Good Reason Why Space Travel Will Happen In Your Lifetime,” we told of their idea to mine near-Earth asteroids for raw materials, basically making space travel profitable. Now, the forward-thinking team at Planetary Resources has tapped a diverse group of supporters to make access to space widely available for exploration and research.

Planetary Resources already includes Google’s CEO Larry Page, filmmaker James Cameron and others who are known for turning exploration into profit.

Recently added to the roster are Virgin’s Sir Richard Branson, actor Seth Green, Star Trek’s Brent Spiner (Data) and Rob Picardo (The Doctor), Bill Nye the Science Guy, futurist Jason Silva and MIT astrophysicist Dr. Sara Seager.

Coming up on Wednesday, May 29 at 10:00 a.m. PDT in Seattle at the Great Gallery at The Museum of Flight (also streaming live), Planetary Resources’ Peter Diamandis, Eric Anderson and Chris Lewicki, along with vlogger Hank Green, will announce an unprecedented project that proposes to change the way humans explore the cosmos.While exact details are being kept secret for now, the plan is to give students, teachers and the public access to “the most innovative space observation technology ever built,” said Planetary Resources in a Reddit post. Also to be covered at the live event, an offer for the public to directly participate in cutting-edge citizen science and discovery.

Doubtful? Check this video with Chief Asteroid Miner Chris Lewicki. Looks legit to me. What do you think?

Claim Your Place In Space, Free

space

If being part of the first commercial space trip sounds like something only the ultra-wealthy might actually do, think again. KLM Royal Dutch Airlines has a competition going on right now that will award a trip into space, billions not required.

Called the Claim Your Place In Space contest, KLM is giving us the chance to be in Curacao on January 1, 2014, when the first commercial space trip takes off.

First, on April 22, KLM goes to the Nevada desert to launch a special high altitude balloon that will carry cameras and GPS tracking equipment to monitor the mission. Your part in the deal: guess how high the balloon will get before it pops.

Get it right (or have the closest estimate) and win a flight for two to Curacao, stay at a luxury hotel then board the SXC Lynx spaceship for a free ride.”If you win, you win big,” says KLM on its dedicated Claim Your Place In Space website (takes a while to load but worth it). “An all-inclusive ticket to space aboard the SXC Lynx … will rocket you 103 km (64 miles) up into space at 4 G’s of thrust.”

Win the prize, worth $95,000, and “you will see the earth as you never have before and experience complete weightlessness.”



[Photo credit- Chris Owen]

Space Travel Update: What NASA Is Up To These Days

space travelWith the Space Shuttle program coming to an end and commercial space flight organizations providing service to the International Space Station, one might wonder what the people at NASA are doing these days. While we’re not sure about other NASA facilities, Kennedy Space Center is keeping busy with a variety of activities.

The Kennedy Space Center (KSC) has been the launch site used for every NASA human space travel flight since 1968. KSC is also a major Florida tourist attraction hosting attractions that include the Shuttle Launch Experience, a simulated journey of launching into space and orbiting Earth, as well as the Astronaut Training Experience, Rocket Garden, two IMAX theaters, the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame and more. Now, KSC is adding yet another attraction, Angry Birds.

The new Angry Birds Space Encounter will be the first comprehensive, interactive Angry Birds attraction in the United States. Designed for people of all ages, the new attraction promises to “brings to life the space adventures of the Angry Birds as they follow their kidnapped eggs into an inter-galactic wormhole, come face to face with Space Pigs and gear up with heroic superpowers,” said KSC in a press release.Set to open at the KSC Visitor Complex on March 22, NASA has a serious reason behind the Angry Birds fun. Collaborating with Angry Birds creator Rovio Entertainment, the idea is to teach players about physics and space exploration, energizing young people regarding future careers in science and technology.

But it’s not all work on the Space Coast of Florida as we see in this video:


[Photo credit - NASA]