HELP THE WORLD'S SMALLEST AND MOST ILL-EQUIPPED AEROSPACE COMPANY LAUNCH A MISSION TO SEARCH FOR "LIFE ON EARTH"
In the 1870's the United States hadn't yet acquired its idea of "The West". Government surveys generated reports of fantastic discoveries, making for compelling reading in magazines like Scribner's. An artist in Philadelphia named Thomas Moran was tasked with illustrating an article about the 'Yellowstone' region and became fascinated. Ultimately his aesthetic decisions led to the creation of the National Parks System, the expansion of the railroads westward, and the 'development' of whole cities and towns.
A hundred years later, space exploration was thought to be a continuation of this model of discovery and conquest, but has since changed. After visiting the moon briefly "In peace for all mankind", mankind stayed home. Robots are increasingly the heroes of expeditions, their limited perceptions and brainpower notwithstanding.
The Brower Propulsion Laboratory, a one-man, Stranger-Than-Fictitious manufacturer of hard to locate items, is seeking funding for a mission based on these two quintessentially American historical phenomena. For our third full-scale mission, we will launch three spacecraft (a lander, a rover, and an airborne 'nanosatellite') near Livingston, Montana, and use their painstakingly crafted (read: DIY) technical apparatus to revisit the sites originally depicted by Thomas Moran. Data will be collected and analyzed in an attempt to "see" this region, (and assess its potential for "life"), in its varied and complicated contexts. Work on this project began in 2006.
The spacecraft and most of the equipment and experiments are already made and undergoing tests right now!
The public will be able to participate in this mission by (1); visiting the exhibitions where the spacecraft, photographs, mission paraphernalia, and equipment will be displayed before, during, and after the mission, (2); by supporting the project through Kickstarter, and (3); by watching the mission unfold at BPL's website, http://browerpropulsionlab.com/ .
There will also be a number of special activities that will involve public participation, which will be announced at the website and here in the form of updates.
For the next phase of the project, the Spacecraft and Mission Equipment will be displayed at the Esther Klein Art Gallery at the University City Science Center, in Philadelphia (http://breadboardphilly.org/) from 22 January, 2010 through 21 March, 2010. The spacecraft will be undergoing tests, and there will be several 'interactive' features (like our Beauty Contest).
WHAT BPL NEEDS FROM THE KICKSTARTER COMMUNITY: You may have surmised by this point that the standards this 'company' adheres to are different from those of your average aerospace corporation. Rather than build toxic and expensive launch rockets, we just need to make some crates for the spacecraft and equipment (analysis indicates that doing the mission on Earth rather than, say, Mars, will save billions of dollars!). The crates need to be well constructed for use in multiple missions. Since the BPL Chairman used to build crates for a living, he has donated his time and skills. We need this money to build the crates, pay off the great people at Kickstarter and the Amazon thing, and to arrange for the transportability of the spacecraft from New York to Philadelphia and back and then from New York to Livingston, Montana and back.
In case you don't know about how Kickstarter works, they get 5% of the funds raised, and Amazon takes another 3 or 4% (based on a complex metric our Math Interpretation Department is still trying to decipher), which we see as all to the good. If you pledge a certain amount, and our total is not achieved by all the pledges within the established time limit, then you don't pay, and you also don't get the backer reward(s). If the goal is reached, or surpassed, everybody gets what they are asking for. At any rate, another thing we need (besides the money), is for more people to participate in our burgeoning space program. So you can also help BPL and yourself by spreading the word (thanks!).
A Personal Note From The BPL Chairman Concerning the Backer Rewards: All the items listed were made by me and will be signed and otherwisely rarified or collectable-ized, in case they should become valuable. Some of the things were made earlier in the project and some are made just for Kickstarter. I'm making them as inexpensive to buy as possible and if this round of fundraising is successful, I will do it again, with even more stuff, to fund the next phase of the project. If not, it will be back to the drawing board, which is something I am quite used to! This whole thing has been self funded (through my various freelance jobs and other compromises), and I don't have assistants. But I want the stuff you get to be substantial and to feel like a 'good deal' to you. If you have questions about these things, just contact me - I'd be happy to answer them.
I'm timing the pledge period to end at the close of the exhibit in Philadelphia so that anyone in the area thinking about participating will have time to come down and examine the artifacts in person. Thanks for looking and I hope you will consider getting involved with my project!
Also, there's more info about me way at the bottom of this page.
- (88 days)