Project Blue launched a citizen-driven campaign today on Kickstarter in an effort raise money for a telescope that could take the first picture of the Earth-like planets around Alpha Centauri, the nearest Sun-like star system to Earth.
Project Blue is a group of space and research organizations hoping to capture an image of observable planets with the small orbital telescope they’re planning to build from the fundraiser. The telescope will be inexpensive, lightweight, and will focus on Alpha Centauri A and B.
Jon Morse, mission executive for Project Blue, said this project could help astronomers find a habitable Earth-like planet.
“We’re at an incredible moment in history, where for the first time, we have the technology to actually find another Earth,” Morse said in a press release.
Morse also said that opening the project to crowd funding allows the mission to be open to everyone. The project is hoping to carve out a mission where citizen-driven efforts can accomplish frontier discovery.
Project Blue’s fundraising goal is $1 million and, if achieved, will be enough to begin the technical groundwork for the mission. The project is offering prizes for different levels of involvement. Some prizes include exclusive mission patches, apparel, educational resources, and even opportunities to meet the scientists of Project Blue.
“It has been inspiring to see our community come together to support ambitious scientific research and space exploration missions,” said Nick Yulman, Kickstarter’s senior technology curation specialist. “Groundbreaking campaigns like this give backers a chance to play a central role in the democratization of scientific discovery and an opportunity to learn directly from the creators driving innovation.”
The campaign is currently open and will run through December 20.