Friday, May 31, 2013

Putting a Face in Space: Yours, Not the Lemming's

"Asteroid mining company wants to put your face in space"
Irene Klotz, Reuters (May 30, 2013)

"A privately owned asteroid mining firm, backed in part by Google Inc's founders, launched a crowd-funding project on Wednesday to gauge public interest in a small space telescope that could serve as a backdrop for personal photographs, officials said.

"Planetary Resources, based in Bellevue, Washington, plans to build and operate telescopes to hunt for asteroids orbiting near Earth and robotic spacecraft to mine them for precious metals, water and other materials.

"It also plans an educational and outreach program to let students, museums, armchair astronomers and virtual travelers share use of a telescope through an initiative on Kickstarter, a website used to raise funds for creative projects...."

This looks like a good idea. The 'your face here' idea reminds the Lemming of days gone by when folks paid for the privilege of sticking their heads through holes in a picture.

The point, as the Lemming recalls, was to have a photographer capture the moment. It was, in the Lemming's opinion, one of the sillier uses humans have found for their technology: but popularity of those boardwalk photos was very human.

The Lemming is more interested in plans for timesharing orbital property. Quite a few of the 7,000,000,000 or so folks living on Earth might want to use a modest space telescope without having the cash to build and maintain a satellite and ground support network. There's the little matter of getting something into orbit, too.

A few more decades, and humans might be raising families in low Earth orbit. But that's another topic.

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