Bill Nye the Science Guy wants to make space exploration more accessible for everybody, but he wants your help to make it happen. This week he launched a Kickstarter campaign for a LightSail, a very lightweight CubeSat (cube satellite) that relies on energy from the sun to get around instead of the heavy fuels typically used by spacecraft.
“Photons (particles of light) have no momentum, but they are pure energy, and they have momentum,” Nye explained in a recent Reddit AMA. “So, in the vacuum of space, we can design a very low mass spacecraft with a very large reflective area, and it will get a continuous push.”
More than 2,700 backers have so far donated close to $160,000 to the project, which has a goal of $200,000 and met its half-way point within 24 hours of its Kickstarter launch. If the campaign successfully reaches its goal, LightSail will be launched from the SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket next year.
“We are advancing space exploration by lowering the cost of sending space crafts way out into space,” Nye says in the video, which also features physicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. “This democratizes space…one your’e up there you can fly to the moon or beyond to other planets.”