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Will the "Project Blue" campaign to kick-start a planet-imaging camera of Alpha Centauri reach its goal on Kickstarter?
Launched on Kickstarter, Project Blue is a crowdfunding campaign consists of scientists and experts from various nonprofit organizations and is led by a former NASA astrophysics director and the CEO of the BoldlyGo Institute. The campaign is currently seeking a $1M pledge by Dec 20, 2016, to help build a new space-based telescope with one objective: the direct imaging of Earth-like planets orbiting Alpha Centauri, our nearest star system. The project hopes to find other "Pale Blue Dots", Earthlike planets with environments that can sustain life.
If the pledge amount is met, the $1M will go towards the initial stage of analysis, design, and mission simulations. Project funding will not be provided unless the $1M goal is met by the deadline.
A $4M budget is set for the second stage of development, in which technologies will be tested and telescope's design would be completed. The entire mission, with a 2020 launch date, is estimated to cost roughly $50M.
The reason behind such a modest budget is that unlike traditional space missions with significantly larger project scopes (such as the Hubble Space Telescope), the only purpose of Project Blue is to create a planet-hunting space telescope, thus making it a high-risk, high-reward mission. Its sole focus on the Alpha Centauri system, while keeping the cost down, is very risky in comparison to a mission that could view hundreds or thousands of stars.
Project Blue is a collaborative science initiative, with collective participation from institutions and the general public. As of writing, $82,210 is pledged, with 24 days to go.
Will the project obtain the initial funding of $1M required to move forward by the deadline?
For this to question to resolve positively, contributions to Project Blue must total at least $1M by Dec 20, 2016, as reported on Kickstarter.
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