Crowdfunding is an increasingly popular approach to bankrolling space missions. The U.K. Lunar Mission One Kickstarter campaign is nearing its final week, and Planetary Resource’s Project ARKYD was funded the same way. Thoth Technology has launched an Indiegogo campaign for its Northern Light Mission, which seeks to raise over a million dollars to put a lander and a mini rover on Mars.
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Wouldn’t a prequel to Night of the Living Dead just be the story of every day life in the late 1960s? There aren’t any zombies before that. I guess it could also be about the long, slow, drawn out, and painful death of Barbara and Johnny’s father, the one whose grave they’re visiting at the cemetery when the movie starts. That sounds like a stone cold bummer. Those were my immediate thoughts as I learned that George Romero’s son is trying to crowdfund a Dead origins movie.
G. Cameron Romero, son of the legendary director, has launched an Indiegogo campaign to kick up funds for his project. Scheduled for 30 days, they’re looking for $150,000 to cover preproduction costs, and you can check out the film’s website for details. Or you can look at their fundraising page for what they’re looking for, what the plan is, and, if you’re into that sort of thing, what kind of perks you can get for donating to the cause.
A long time ago (1978) in a galaxy…well, pretty close to us, NASA launched the ISEE-3 (International Sun/Earth Explorer 3) probe, sending it to space to study the magnetic field and solar winds of Earth. Since then, ISEE-3 has done NASA proud, accomplishing firsts such as flying through a comet’s tail. It collected data until 1999, when NASA decided it would party no more and switched it off. It’s been sleeping ever since, but if a crowdfunding project turns out to be successful, NASA may wake the ISEE-3 up as it passes near Earth later this year and put it back on the job.
The ISEE-3 Reboot Project, which is sponsored by Space College, Skycorp, and SpaceRef, is currently running on RocketHub. It’s currently a third of the way to meeting its $125,000 goal, with 22 days left to fund the project. The idea is pretty simple, especially since a team has already been assembled, and they’ve got a radio telescope that can make contact with the probe. Scientists working on the project want to contact the probe, which is now generally known as the ICE (International Comet Explorer), fire it up, and get it back in orbit around the Earth where it can continue harvesting information and chasing comets.
Crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo have proven to be a huge boon for modestly budgeted projects with big ambitions. Aside from simply affording creative sorts a new model with which to put their stuff before the public, it’s also created an intriguing middle ground where fans and traditional media creators can collaborate to make cool things — hence a Veronica Mars movie arriving later this year, some seven years after the show was canceled. The Ghost Source Zero Kickstarter probably isn’t going to rake in millions, but it is a cool story of a genre vet teaming up with one of his die-hard fans to make something new.
It’s no secret that funding for science projects and research is paltry these days, and what little funding exists is subject to the fickle vacillations and stubbornness of the federal government. So the mission-driven for-profit organization Experiment (formerly Microryza) has launched a platform for scientists and researchers around the globe to solicit funding, much in the style of Kickstarter.
Experiment notes that “our system for funding science is broken,” and that fewer than 15% of all proposals get backed, so they’re looking to democratize the process by launching a platform that supports “scientists for the people, by the people.” The process is pretty simple: researchers post projects in need of funding, and then spread the word, garnering financial support from anyone with a credit card and a yen to promote scientific discoveries. The project either reaches its goal or does—as with Kickstarter, the project must receive at least 100% of the funding goal (if it doesn’t, prospective backers aren’t charged). In return for successfully funding a project, backers get insights into the science and research, and updates about where exactly their money went. Unlike with Kickstarter, there are no tangible rewards for backers—the idea is that they’re financially supporting projects they want to see funded, and the scientists’ ability to perform the research is reward enough.
In this age of geek wonders such as Marvel’s Cinematic Universe, an impending new Star Wars trilogy, and one of the most high-profile shows on TV focusing on a zombie apocalypse, it’s easy to forget that such things haven’t always gotten the most respect. Only the most snobbish of the snobby can turn their noses up at The Avengers’ $1.52 billion-with-a-b, but for much of its existence science fiction has been dismissed by many as disposable kid’s stuff. We all knew the truth long before the rest of the world caught on: at its best science fiction is about hope, about wonder, about aspiration. It’s a way to warn us of dangerous paths ahead, and to comment on who we are by imagining who we might become. And, to borrow a phrase from a well-known archaeologist/grave robber, “it belongs in a museum!”