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By The PLANETS Foundation
$23,332 pledged of $20,000 goal
backers

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by .

About this project

We're building a system of technologies capable of finding life on our nearest exoplanets. The PLANETS Telescope is the first link in this system. This groundbreaking telescope is currently being built in the hills of Hawaii and we need your help to finish the job.

 

We've partnered with world leaders to create a technology capable of finding and characterizing life on the nearby exoplanets featured inside this beautiful ExoCube. Help us build the technology needed to find life on these exoplanets and take home a symbol of your contribution to science.

 

When you select the Exocube reward, you will be able to select the specific Exocube version in a survey after the campaign is successfully funded. Simply choose the collection your version is in to secure your Exocube. These ExoCubes are 3D laser engraved glass cubes of potentially habitable exoplanets within 50 light years of Earth. They make the perfect gift for a space enthusiast, future astronaut, astronomer or anyone interested in finding life in the Universe.

 

 

PLANETS = Polarized Light from Atmospheres of Nearby ExtraTerrestrial Systems

Currently under construction, the PLANETS telescope will be the world’s largest off-axis telescope (1.85 meters) for night-time planetary and exoplanetary science. The telescope site is located on Haleakala, a 3,048m (10,000ft) volcano on the island of Maui, Hawaii, one of the world's best astronomical sites.

The PLANETS telescope will be the world’s largest off-axis telescope (1.85 m) for night-time astrophysics and planetary science.
The PLANETS telescope will be the world’s largest off-axis telescope (1.85 m) for night-time astrophysics and planetary science.

Location: Haleakala, Maui 
Status: Under Construction 
Expected Completion: 2019

Scheduled to be completed by 2019, the PLANETS telescope is a pathfinder project for even more sophisticated telescopes capable of finding and characterizing life on nearby exoplanets.

The PLANETS telescope is optimized to study faint environments around bright sources like:   

  • Exoatmospheres of terrestrial planets in the solar system
  • Atmospheres and surfaces of nearby bright exoplanets  
  • Circumstellar environments and protoplanets in circumstellar disks 
  • Biosignatures on potentially habitable exoplanets (as a technology path-finder)

PLANETS Telescope's 3 Core Technologies 

1) Advanced Polishing Technologies
Our stepping stone to ultra-thin mirrors is a deterministic hydro polishing technology that applies zero pressure on a thin glass surface while it shapes it. Our PLANETS mirror will be the thinnest aspect ratio telescope mirror in use and it allows us to test thin-mirror electromechanical concepts. With our technology partners, HNu Photonics and Dynamic Optics, we're developing “HyDRa.” HyDRa is a novel process we’ve patented with our partners that uses a six-axis robot, air-pressure and a water-based slurry to produce incredibly precise and smooth optical surfaces.

First phase polishing of the PLANETS Telescope mirror
First phase polishing of the PLANETS Telescope mirror

 

2) Ultra-thin Mirrors
Reducing the mass of telescope mirrors is critical to finding life in the Universe, because it allows us to greatly decrease the total cost of the telescope. We've developed a process to create ultra-thin mirrors using a specialized furnace to heat glass and "slump" it into a parabolic shape.

 

 

3) Scalable Large Optical Telescope Concept
Our team is working on a scalable new technology for larger diameter to replace classical rigid and heavy optical mirrors systems by an ultra-thin and low area mass density mirrors. Our technology relies on a new meta-materials design additively manufactured via 3D printing. This process has the potential to create mirrors that are literally 10X thinner and lighter than current technologies. The final "Live-MetaOptics" mirror is optimized to high contrast application minding that it is based on our ultra-thin "slumped-fire-polished" technology which does not require optical abrasive polishing.

The final step to building an instrument with the “reach” to find exo-life or Earth-like civilizations depends on building optical systems that are larger than any planned astronomical telescopes. Because our proposed instruments (we call them ELF and Colossus) are designed for looking at the faint light around bright stars, they will observe a part of the universe that no astronomical telescope can see.

 

   

 

 

The PLANETS Foundation is an international team of professors, astrophysicists, engineers, entrepreneurs and scientists from 6 countries around the globe. Our members have made fundamental contributions to some of the most advanced telescopes now being built, like the Giant Magellan Telescope in Chile or the Daniel K. Inouye Telescope on Haleakala. Our team has a wealth of experience building and designing large-scale telescope facilities for planetary research. 


To learn more about our team visit our about us page at www.planets.life/about-us

 

Surface Imaging of Proxima b and Earth-like Planets by Dr. Svetlana Berdyugina

On April 20th, 2017 Dr. Svetlana Berdyugina gives a talk at the Breakthrough Discuss conference about the research techniques and technologies needed to find life on nearby exoplanets.

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Are we special? Searching for life in the Universe. | TEDx

Dr. Svetlana Berdyugina gives a TEDx talk about the search for life in the Universe.

 

Existential education, cosmic intelligence & the Colossus Project | TEDx

 

Searching for extraterrestrial civilizations with the Colossus telescope | SETI Institute Hangout 

Dr. Jeff Kuhn and Dr. Svetlana Berdyugina talk with the team at SETI Institute about the Colossus Telescope in a Google Hangout. SETI participants include: Franck Marchis, Frank Drake, and Dave Summers.

 

We have been fortunate to partner with some of the world's most prestigious academic and technology organizations. We'd like to say thanks to all the individuals helping to make our vision a reality. 

 

 

Dynamic Structures 
Dynamic Structures is renowned for building some of the largest and most sophisticated astronomical telescopes in the world, including the Keck Telescopes. In conjunction with their sister company (Dynamic Optics) and scientists at UNAM they led the development of an advanced mirror-polishing technology called HyDRa that has the potential to be a game-changer in the way large optical quality reflective optics are created.

 

HNu Photonics
Based on Maui, Hawaii, HNu Photonics is a science and technology company creating cutting-edge optical technologies for commercial, scientific and military applications. HNu is leading the charge with the HyDRa technology to demonstrate the PLANETS telescope primary mirror.

 

1.5m aperture solar GREGOR telescope located at the base of Mount Teide, Tenerife, Spain
1.5m aperture solar GREGOR telescope located at the base of Mount Teide, Tenerife, Spain

Kiepenheuer Institute for Solar Physics (KIS)
Headquartered in Freiburg, Germany, the Kiepenheuer Institute for Solar Physics is a research institute focusing on the exploration of the Sun, stars, solar planets, and exoplanets. KIS is a founding member of the PLANETS Foundation and is major funding and technology partner to PLANETS telescope. 

 

 

National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM)
The National Autonomous University of Mexico (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México) is a public research university in Mexico City, Mexico and is the largest university in Latin America. UNAM developed the early prototypes and techniques for HyDRa polishing.

 

State University of Ponta Grossa
Established in 1970, State University of Ponta Grossa is one of the five state universities in Paraná, Brazil. State University of Ponta Grossa is our newest institutional partner to the PLANETS Telescope and is making a significant financial contribution to the construction of the PLANETS telescope.
 

 

 

Tohoku University
Located in Sendai, Miyagi Japan Tohoku University is the third oldest Imperial University in Japan and is considered as one of the most prestigious universities in Japan, and one of the top fifty universities in the world. Tohoku University is a founding member of the PLANETS Foundation and has been essential in providing funding and developing technology for the PLANETS telescope.

 

Universite de Lyon
The Universite de Lyon, located in Lyon and Saint-Étienne, France, is a center for higher education and research comprising 16 institutions of higher education. The team at Universite de Lyon have made significant contributions to the design of the optical technologies for the PLANETS Telescope.

 

A BIG THANK YOU TO:

Tony Darnell, Deep Astronomy, Bill Diamond, Gabriel Dima, Scott Erickson, Charlie Fein, Dave Halliday, Pete Klupar, Riki Maeda, Guy Nelson, Isabelle Scholl, SETI Institute, Jill Tarter, Stan Truitt, Conor Woodard, Pete Worden, Mizuki Yonedaga.  

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Risks and challenges

The founders of ExoCube and the PLANETS Foundation have personally backed dozens of Kickstarter projects and fully understand how disappointing it can be to get a reward much after the promised ship date. We've spent 100's of hours making sure all of our supply chains are in order to handle any amount of success for this Kickstarter.

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    A Galactic Thank You!

    Pledge $25 and receive an a PLANETS Foundation commemorative coffee mug.

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    PLANETS Foundation T-Shirt

    Pledge $35 to show your support in style with a PLANETS Foundation t-shirt. Choose from a wide range of shirt colors and sizes.

    Available sizes: S, M, L, XL, 2XL, 3XL, 4XL, 5XL, LT, XLT, 2XT, 3XT, 4XT

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    ExoCube (without mineral sphere)

    Pledge $110 and receive an ExoCube without a mineral sphere.

    ExoCube is a 3D laser engraved crystal glass cube featuring 25 potentially habitable exoplanets within 50 light years of Earth.

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    ExoCube Alpha (Early Bird)

    Pledge $140 and receive an ExoCube from the Alpha Collection.

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    • Proxima b (lapis lazuli)
    • Tau Ceti e (chevron banded amethyst)
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    ExoCube Beta (Early Bird)

    Pledge $145 and receive a limited edition ExoCube from the Beta Collection.

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    • Gliese 832 c (green aventurine)
    • Gliese 581 c (celestite)
    • HD 219134 b (white howlite)
    • Gliese 667 Cc (citrine)
    • Dagon (grey agate)

    When you select this Exocube reward tier, you will be able to select the specific Exocube version in a survey after the campaign is successfully funded.

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    ExoCube Alpha

    Pledge $150 and receive a limited edition ExoCube from the Alpha Collection.

    Choose from:
    • Proxima b (lapis lazuli)
    • Tau Ceti e (chevron banded amethyst)
    • Kapteyn b (green jade)
    • Wolf 1061 c (labradorite)
    • Gliese 876 d (amethyst)

    When you select this Exocube reward tier, you will be able to select the specific Exocube design in a survey after the campaign is successfully funded. Simply choose the collection tier your design is in to secure your Exocube.

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    ExoCube Beta

    Pledge $155 and receive a limited edition ExoCube from the Beta Collection.

    Choose from:
    • Gliese 832 c (green aventurine)
    • Gliese 581 c (celestite)
    • HD 219134 b (white howlite)
    • Gliese 667 Cc (citrine)
    • Dagon (grey agate)

    When you select this Exocube reward tier, you will be able to select the specific Exocube version in a survey after the campaign is successfully funded.

    Includes:
    • 1 ExoCube from the Beta Collection
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    PLANETS Telescope Platinum Sponsor

    Pledge $1,000 and become an official platinum sponsor of the PLANETS Telescope.

    You'll be invited to the dedication in Hawaii and be acknowledged in each edition of our PLANETS bulletins.

    Your generous donation will go directly to the development and construction of the PLANETS Telescope.

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    PLANETS Telescope Ambassador

    Pledge $10,000 and become an official ambassador of the PLANETS Telescope.

    You'll be memorialized with your name on a plaque on the telescope, invited to the dedication in Hawaii and be acknowledged in each edition of our PLANETS bulletins.

    Your generous donation will go directly to the development and construction of the PLANETS Telescope.

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