Bill Nye turns to crowdfunding for solar spacecraft

The craze for sourcing funds for major projects via crowdfunding Websites has hit the space industry with news that Bill Nye’s The Planetary Society are seeking funding for a prototype of their Lightsail. The Lightsail is based on a theory and design proposed by legendary scientist Carl Sagan who theorized the radiation of the Sun could be used to provide propulsion for a spacecraft traveling through space. Engadget explains that Nye’s team are now looking for funding to complete their initial prototype and launch it into orbit around 447 miles above the Earth.

The Planetary Society page at the Kickstarter Website is asking for donations to provide an initial $200,000 in funds, which could be extended as far as $1 million if the campaign is successful according to Bruce Levenson. The team behind the Lightsail believes they will eventually need around $1.2 million to completed the test and hope the initial call for funding will lead to a surge in donations. Nye and his team have adapted Sagan’s initial design to provide the latest model with four sails that will capture the radiation of the sun as it moves through space and use it to power a capsule in a design known as CubeSat.

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