Asteroid mining hopeful Planetary Resources has unveiled a new space-based telescope design, with intentions to crowdsource funding and allow the public to aim it.

The new Arkyd space telescope will be different than the others that Planetary Resources plans to launch, though based on the same model. Rather than searching for asteroids, which the company hopes to mine for precious metals, the new model will be a public outreach tool.

Called the Citizen Space Project, the new telescope will be controllable by the general public, allowing interested persons to vote on what institution or research project deserves time on the telescope. It will also include a display on which people can project their photographs, and a camera to take pictures and return them to Earth in what the company calls a 'space-selfie.'

Planetary Resources has started a Kickstarter crowd-funding site to launch and maintain the telescope, with the aim of gathering $1 million from the public to launch and maintain the satellite. As of press time, nearly $400,000 had been pledged by over 3,300 people.

If successful, the telescope will be the largest and most complex crowdfunded satellite to be launched, though relatively small in comparison to other orbiting observatories.

 Planetary Resources

 Planetary Resources

Source: Flight International