The year that I was born, Carl Sagan (the pre Neil Degrasse Tyson “Cosmos” guy) had this to say about a solar wind powered spacecraft:

Bill Nye The LightSail Guy

Bill Nye The Science Guy (and LightSail Guy), President of the Planetary Society

Now, almost 40 years later, it finally really exists! The first test mission just successfully completed last week, and I was one of the folks eagerly tuning into the press conferences and generally gobbling up all the news about it.

The next mission in 2016 sends it…out of Earth’s orbit! For a kid who grew up watching Star Trek, this is kinda a big deal. I mean:

  • no human has set foot on the moon in my lifetime
  • I watched the live TV launch as the Challenger blew up when I was a kid (something I will never forget)
  • national space programs around the globe are all subsets of the military often seem to be more about looking back at Earth than out to space

The LightSail Project is not due to the traditional government-funded route like NASA or new private efforts of Elon Musk, this is due to the modern marvel of crowdsourcing and the Planetary Society that Carl Sagan founded long ago. These days Bill Nye is at the helm, and a whole host of amazing citizen scientists like you and me participating. You want in?

There are just 7 days left to help (over)fund this Kickstarter. I chose to fund at the level that comes with a membership to the Planetary Society and I’m very happy to live in a time when such inspiring things are possible. Here’s a quick clip:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/theplanetarysociety/lightsail-a-revolutionary-solar-sailing-spacecraft

 

“These are the voyages of the CubeSat LightSail. Her mission: to try out new methods and new technologies, TO BOLDLY GO WHERE NO KICKSTARTER HAS GONE BEFORE!”

Join all the cool people and be a part of it. All sorts nifty awards await you too, of course.

LightSail

Get in on it, people of Earth. This is the future, and this our history.