Crowdfunding is incredibly hot. We like the concept of getting a bunch of people together, having them all make small donations and fund beneficial projects. But can this funding model work for something really big? Something like the private space race? It's a question asked in a recent PCMag story. And the answer? Quite possibly.
First stop: The moon
Michael Laine offers an example. According to PCMag.com, this former NASA engineer and the founder of LiftPort is developing a lunar elevator, a means to get people to the moon without depending on rockets. He recently ran a Kickstarter campaign to raise $8,000 for this project. The results were impressive: He instead generated $110,000 from well over 3,400 backers during 21 days.
When NASA ended its space shuttle program, it presented an opening for private entrepreneurs who have the goal of exploring outer space independently. And that has left an opening, too, for crowdfunding efforts to help provide the money needed for private space exploration.
A new telescope
For another example of space-age crowdfunding, PCMag points to asteroid-mining company Planetary Resources. This business ran a Kickstarter campaign to raise $1 million to develop a low-Earth orbit telescope. The campaign earned more than $1.5 million from 17,600 supporters in just 32 days. The company plans to use the excess funds to search deeper into space, perhaps for alien worlds.