Moonshots: Kickstarting the next chapter of space exploration

Privately funded space missions might sound like the preserve of the financial elite, but the truth is actually a little more pedestrian.
Speaking at Expand New York today, Michael Lain (Liftport) and Chris Lewicki (Planetary Resources) both extolled the virtues of people power, and the critical role it will play in the future of private space exploration. Head past the break to find out how you might play a part in the next chapter of space research.
Lewicki was first to sing the praises of Kickstarter, not just for the financial resources, but the community it brings with it. When asked about the role crowdfunding had played in his projects, Lewicki’s response was simple. Not only was it critical financially, but it also provides confirmation that they were on the right path. "What we’re doing is an incredible undertaking. It’s more about answering a question than raising the money. Is the public interested in what we’re doing?" The answer to that was a resounding "yes." His team’s ARKYD telescope blew through its million dollar target, raising an additional $500,000 on top. But the real reward, claims Lewicki, was the overwhelming public interest. The following day, his team received over 1,000 unsolicited job applications from people just wanting to be involved.
Laine had similar stories. For him the human resources that come with crowdfunding were as valuable as the monetary ones. So impressed was he with some of the people that supported his team’s Lunar elevator project, he actually invited them to be on the board of advisors. "The connections and relationships you build with those people are really important. The community is really paying off." Lewicki agreed, pointing out that crowdfunding is as much a benefit to the bad ideas as the good ones. After all, if it doesn’t meet its target, you’ve just been given some pretty solid feedback, "And you only put 30 days into it."