Share this project


Share this project

The first publicly accessible space telescope! Take amazing photos of space or have your photo displayed above the Earth.
17,614 backers pledged $1,505,366 to help bring this project to life.

Stretch Goals Announced! We Need YOUR Help Hunting for Alien Planets

Posted by Planetary Resources (Creator)

That’s right. We’re totally doing it... IF we can hit our ultimate stretch goal of US$2 million, we’ll be able to enhance ARKYD’s stability systems and dedicate time to monitoring candidate star systems for transiting exoplanets.

With NASA’s recent equipment failure on the Kepler telescope (RIP, Kepler!), our search for extrasolar planets nearly came to a grinding halt. If we can meet our stretch goal, we can resume some of this progress by enhancing the ARKYD. We’re partnering with exoplanet researchers at MIT to equip citizen scientists like YOU with the tools to join a search that’s captivated us for generations.

To help us get there, we’re also announcing three additional stretch goals. If we raise $1.3 million, we’ll build a second ground station at the site of an educational partner. This station will provide a 2x downlink boost, doubling download speeds from space. Two additional mystery goals will be revealed when we reach 11,000 and 15,000 backers! Believe us when we say: You’ll want to see them.

We only have 19 more days to meet this goal. If you haven’t already, please share this Kickstarter with friends, family, co-workers, random strangers, and help us enhance the ARKYD with Alien Planet Hunting technology.

Please tell us what you think about a mission to hunt for alien planets.

And of course, stay tuned, spread the word, and support ARKYD!

– Chris


Only backers can post comments. Log In
    1. Planetary Resources Creator on

      @Sanjai Kukreti: Thanks for the support! We agree with you and that is why we decided to make this a stretch goal! Please share this Kickstarter with others so that we can reach the stretch goal!

    2. Missing avatar

      Sanjai Kukreti on

      Gee, I really hope we make the stretch goal, because the loss of Kepler makes it all the more necessary to get more planet-finding telescopes out there.

    3. Missing avatar

      Joe Churchwell on

      What could we do with many ARKYD 100 telescopes? Could we imagine an ARKYD array at some point in time for community use? I am pretty sure we could do better extrasolar planet detection with multiple ARKYDs if the distance between them is kept constant to a high level of precision.

      For the nerds out there... I am thinking Blind Source Separation would be useful to filter out noise. Having multiple sensors can localize and extract the signal.

    4. Planetary Resources Creator on

      @Richard Williams: Our anticipated capability is building on Dr. Sara Seager's work at MIT with a 3U Cubesat called "ExoPlanetSat". Unlike Kepler, we will be looking at star systems with known planets (determined through the radial velocity method), but not confirmable to transit because of the atmospheric instability. This allows to observe these in a rather narrow time window, instead of the multi-year stare that Kepler had done - similar for the gravitational lensing events. Additionally, the stabilization work to support this is related to our stabilization improvements enabled through laser communication, and can help with light curve measurement of Near Earth Objects. While we won't be able to rival work of Kepler or other large survey scopes, we can make progress in the meantime between other $500M+ missions.

    5. Missing avatar

      Richard Williams on

      I confess I don't get it ... if you could do planet-hunting with a tiny 'scope like this, then why do we need multi-billion dollar 'scopes like Kepler, Chandra, and Hubble in the first place? It makes perfect sense for hunting NEO asteroids at this small scale and closer distance, and I'm jazzed about that step. But honestly, I find the exoplanet stretches my credulity about as much as it's a 'stretch' goal :(

    6. Planetary Resources Creator on

      @June Sky: Thanks for the great support! The best way that you can help us is to share this Kickstarter with everyone you know. Email friends and family, utilize your social networks, spread support by word of mouth. Anything that you can do to help us reach our goal and beyond!

    7. June Sky on

      UGH! I've already pledged my maximum amount ($200), but I want to do more! How can I help you guys get to your goal?!

    8. Jonathan Hammond on

      @Michael McGregor well chosen stretch goals that generate excitement / make a KS attractive to new groups can be a powerful way to bring in backers and thus help achieve the initial goal. As long as an improved Arkyd would be genuinely helpful in planet hunting then I think this is a great stretch goal!

    9. Planetary Resources Creator on

      @ Simon Collander-Brown: Thanks for the interesting link!

    10. Missing avatar

      Simon Collander-Brown on

      The size of aperture is fine Super Wasp is detecting transits but David is right sensitivity and stability are key

    11. Planetary Resources Creator on

      @David Rabanus: We are currently in the process of choosing specific components for the Arkyd that will allow it to make useful astronomical observations with respect to exoplanets.

    12. David Rabanus

      Do you have already defined which image sensor you will be using, which temperature sensitivity and stability it will have, and what the pointing stability of the ARKYD will be? If you can answer these questions with "yes", one would have to see which fractional dimming of a star's light could be detected with the ARKYD. Typically, a brightness change of 1:1000 to 1:10000 should do it. That means, that the stability of the signal-to-noise ratio of the image sensor should be better than this, and that over weeks in orbit. I would love to see that happen!

      And you are right, that competing with Kepler would be bold, but the engineering of the detection system should aim for stability, hence...

      Only I don't think it is enough to just launch it and see how far you get.

      Regards - David.

    13. Planetary Resources Creator on

      @Dave Meyer: Thanks for your sharing your thoughts. We at Planetary Resources are very excited about the $2M stretch goal. While the ARKYD won’t rival NASA’s $600 million Kepler spacecraft, we're hoping to resume some of the progress it was making. Here are some comments about the useful science that can be obtained by Arkyd from Dr. Sara Seager, Professor of Physics and Planetary Science at MIT: “The enhanced version of the ARKYD telescope will be an important source of data for exoplanets that can only be obtained from space, above the blurring effects of Earth’s turbulent atmosphere.”

    14. Dave Meyer on

      with this little camera, no way.?

    15. Michael McGregor on

      but you haven't even hit your real goal yet....maybe think about that first before promising the universe