Project Blue Kickstarter aims to photograph first Earth-like planet around Alpha CentauriBy Shawn Knight 15 comments
With billions upon billions of planets and planetary systems out there, the odds would suggest that we may not be alone in the universe. Prior to NASA's Kepler mission, scientists were just playing the odds but now, thanks to Kepler, it's estimated that there may be more Earth-like planets in the universe than people alive today.
The only problem with that theory is that we've never come across such a planet. That's were Project Blue comes into play.
Project Blue is the name of a mission whose goal is to build a small space telescope to observe planets around Alpha Centauri A and B, the closest star system to ours. With technical experts from BoldlyGo Institute, Mission Centaur, the SETI Institute and the University of Massachusetts Lowell, the team is aiming to crowdfund the endeavor via Kickstarter with the hope of capturing the first image of an Earth-like planet outside of our solar system.
Experts believe there is an 85 percent probability that either Alpha Centauri A or B has an Earth-like planet in its habitable zone.
Project Blue will ultimately cost around $30 million but the team is seeking just $1 million to get the ball rolling. With 32 days remaining in the campaign, they've raised just $68,000 thus far from 524 backers. With any luck, they'll gain additional traction and get the funding needed to get started.
The future of humanity may depend on it, at least according to Stephen Hawking, who recently said we may have as few as 1,000 years to expand to another planet before a disaster takes out Earth.