For decades, space exploration has been the domain of government agencies and academic institutions. In other words, you did have to be a rocket scientist to take part. But that’s all changing. With an increasing number of private space missions and a groundswell in community-driven — and Kickstarter-funded — innovation happening in science and exploration, there are more opportunities than ever to participate. This democratization will be celebrated September 21–22, 2016, at San Francisco’s Dent:Space, an eagerly anticipated gathering of those involved with the technological, artistic, commercial, scientific, educational, and DIY aspects of space exploration.
We’re proud to part of this dynamic community and thrilled that some of our favorite creators will be taking part as well. Here’s where you can find us at Dent:Space and a bit about the Kickstarted projects that will be on display:
Kickstarter: Build A Community Around Your Space Exploration Project
Main Stage September 21, 2016, 10:40 AM–10:50 AM
Clarissa Redwine, Kickstarter’s Design and Technology Outreach Lead for the West Coast, will talk about how creators and backers explore the world and extend the reach of human understanding together through the lens of diverse, inspiring, independent, and creative projects.
Kickstarter Space Exploration Creator Panel
Maker Stage September 21, 2016, 11:20 AM–12:00 PM
Kickstarter offers science enthusiasts, explorers, and innovators a unique opportunity to connect with an audience and gather the resources needed to bring ideas to life. We’ll hear from a panel of creators, including the creators behind LightSail, ISS-Above, and PongSat, who will share how they approached crafting a great campaign, building and leveraging a community, and getting their space exploration projects off the ground.
The idea of harnessing the Sun’s photons to propel a solar sail was introduced almost a century ago and brought into the realm of possibility through Carl Sagan’s advocacy in the 1970s. The Planetary Society’s Bill Nye and Richard Chute have continued this legacy, inspiring thousands of backers to help launch the LightSail into space through a Kickstarter campaign last year. Dent:Space visitors will be able to touch sample sail material and see models of this unusually beautiful spacecraft.
The International Space Station routinely passes over most of the world’s populated areas, but most of us aren’t aware of its presence. Liam Kennedy created ISS-Above to alert his grandkids to the multiple times each day that the only humans in space are zipping above their heads. The little device is now in over 1,300 locations worldwide, reminding folks of all ages that people are actively exploring space.
With two successful Kickstarter campaigns, the PongSat program has carried over 18,000 students’ experiments into space, more than all the world’s space programs combined. Students from around the world stuff their experiments into ping pong balls and John Powell’s team of volunteers send them to the edge of space in a high altitude balloon. Subjects range from plant growth to cancer research but Powell’s favorite is the humble marshmallow. He explains, “At one hundred thousand feet the marshmallow puffs up, completely filling the ball. Then it freeze dries. The student gets to hold in her hand the direct results of traveling the top of the atmosphere.” Dent:Space visitors will be able to make PongSat experiments of their own to be lifted into space on the next flight.