For those of us who grew up in the heyday of the space race, nothing was more exciting than imagining that someday we would be able to take a more active role in space exploration. But that dream never came about, and space travel still remains the province of elite scientists and the wealthy. Unless you’ve got a Pocket Spacecraft, that is.
Now, just about anyone can take part in the citizen science movement with their very own personalized spacecraft, which will hitch a ride on a commercial rocket and be deployed to land on the moon.
“Pocket Spacecraft are disks with flexible electronics, smaller than a CD and as thin as a piece of paper, that will be loaded into an Interplanetary CubeSat mothership to hitch a ride into space on a commercial rocket. The mothership will then set off to the moon and when it arrives many months later, the fleet of Pocket Spacecraft will be photographed as they are released to land on the moon to complete their mission.”
Backers of the Pocket Spacecraft project at the $159 level can personalize their spacecraft with a picture or message, and once launched, can monitor the progress of their craft throughout its mission, right from their smartphone (or web browser) with a “mission control” app. For those with more technical prowess, the onboard soft- and hardware can be customized to conduct their own experiments.
Those who choose to launch their Pocket Spacecraft on the Earth Scout deck will have their unit released into the Earth’s atmosphere to attempt re-entry and recovery from the surface of our planet, and those who choose to go with the Lunar Scout deck will have theirs sent to the moon to be released to try to make it to the surface of the moon.
“We want to demonstrate that thousands of technical and non-technical people can design their own spacecraft, send these spacecraft into space, land some on a planet with an atmosphere (Earth this time) and send the rest a significant interplanetary distance to a body without an atmosphere (the Moon), and do useful science while having fun.”
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