Investors eager to own a piece of Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) could face a very long wait. According to a recent tweet from the Hawthorne, Calif.-based company’s founder and chief executive, Elon Musk, there will be no initial public offering (IPO) of SpaceX stock before humans have begun to settle Mars. “No near term plans to IPO SpaceX,” Musk wrote in a short message posted to Twitter June 6. “Only possible in very long term when Mars Colonial Transporter is flying regularly.” The Mars Colonial Transporter is a conceptual vehicle that Musk has discussed as part of his company’s stated long-term goal: sending human settlers to Mars. This is a change in tone for Musk, who up until the June 6 tweet had said that SpaceX would go public in the near-term, as his other two companies, Solar City and Tesla Motors, have. As recently as February 2012, Musk told Bloomberg News that he might take SpaceX public in 2013.
Say hello to ARKYD!Pronounced ahrk-kid. An orbiting space telescope that will be open for public and educational use to popularize, promote, and help educate people about not only the cosmos, but the importance of space exploration itself! Take a minute to click here and learn a a little more about this project aimed to help people the world over including students, scientists, and future generations of explorers, who have the ability to use the ARKYD in ways that we can’t even imagine yet!
“At Planetary Resources, our primary focus is mining asteroids, and we’re pushing the boundaries of what is possible by vertically integrating and applying innovations from consumer-based industries. It’s our goal to reduce the cost of space observatories many times over, allowing anyone to access them for their own use. We want to empower the crowd to solve the big problems of our time — and this is the first step to making that a reality.” [via ARKYD KickStarter page.]
So what exactly does this mean for you, and what can you do to help?
Take a photo of yourself in space!
The ARKYD is a space telescope. High-resolution photos of objects in space are taken by it’s main, large optic. Something that is strikingly different about this space telescope is it’s external screen and camera arm, that allows the telescope to not only take photos of the ARKYD itself in space, above Earth, but take images of what ever is projected on the screen.
This is where you come in: The very external screen just explained above, is available for use by regular citizens. You can have your own photo, or graphic, displayed on the external screen as it orbit’s Earth, and the camera arm will proceed to take an image of your personal image in space! In the hopes of popularizing this amazing chance of stellar personal imagery, these images taken in space of regular citizen’s images are being called “Space Selfies”, and can even be displayed on the community page if you so wish to share your special image!
These space selfless are encouraged to be shared all over the internet, from Facebook for your friends and family to see, to Twitter, Tumblr, and anywhere else you please. This is encouraged because the space selfless are aimed to be a catalyst to giving other’s, who don’t yet know about ARKYD, a taste of the “Overview Effect”, which is basically a psychological phenomenon that is experienced by most astronauts who spend time in outer-space above Earth, and thusly feel “the imperative to protect our planet”.
Use the telescope’s main optic to take beautiful photos of outer space!
Help study distant galaxies, or search for possibly dangerous asteroids. ARKYD’s photographic capabilities include: objects within our solar system, distant galaxies and nebulae, and even images of Earth! The ARKYD is also capable of performing photometric applications such as determining the spin-rate of an asteroid. Even if you’re not knowledgeable about where to look, or what to look for to take photos in space, then you can use Google Sky to see some examples of images of space we already have as a collective species.
Use your telescope time to support important science education!
A very important part of this mission is to inspire and educate future generations, specifically, as well as the whole of the human population with information and images of outer-space, and space exploration. You can use your personal telescope time to help researchers conduct scientific inquiry, or allow current-students to learn about the endlessly amazing cosmos. This mission will also be working with a museum or science center to create unique educational curriculums and an interactive, as well as a hopeful ARKYD-themed exhibit that is currently in the works.
This is aimed at not only students and people within North America, but any where around the world. The only way we can further our space exploration and funding is through popularization and education. Because Engineering and Space Sciences are considered two of the most complicated subjects when being taught in primary educational settings, students rarely get to begin to understand, or even work with real science and are instead given uninteresting material that is more times than not, difficult for them to even try to grasp intellectually.
With the ARKYD, we’re giving teachers and students alike a chance to bring a hands-on learning experience into the classroom with a publicly accessed space telescope, learning things such as how it is launched, how it works, and more. What child seeing space with his own eyes, whilst controlling parts of a space telescope as it travels over the Earth at five miles per second, would not fall in love with what he or she saw? Much less science itself?
Go here, and here to learn more about the ARKYD and support it!