Bill Nye’s Solar Sail Kickstarter Crosses $1 Million Mark


Bill Nye lent his name and his position as CEO of The Planetary Society to help set up a Kickstarter that’s doing some real, hard science and will hopefully be the launch pad for a ton of new research on space propulsion. Their crowdfunding campaign crossed a major milestone over the weekend. More after the break.

LightSail is a small, breadbox-sized satellite with a giant solar sail that will fly in low-Earth orbit for about a month. The Planetary Society had a prototype circling the planet for the past few weeks, testing deployment and sensor readings ahead of the full program this December. The final cost on the project was about $5.5 million, of which $1.2 million was outstanding before they headed to Kickstarter to raise the last of the needed money.

They had set a modest goal of $200,000 for the campaign – enough to get the satellite built, but not enough to integrate and analyze the data for the duration of the mission. They crossed that mark pretty early, and over the weekend, Nye announced that they had found a backer to match up to $100,000 after they hit $1 million, getting them to their full amount. They sailed (I’m sorry, I held out on the puns as long as I could) past that mark easily, and with 3 days left, if they can put together another $95k (as of this writing), the entire mission will be fully funded. So go here if you want to throw some money towards SCIENCE!

Someday when Jake Sisko and his dad are taking a low-fi pleasure cruise around Bajor, they’ll look back on today and say “Man, that Bill Nye was a pretty solid dude.”