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Episode # 200   Be Part of Scientific History

About The Episode:

Today on The Inspiration Show Natalie Ledwell speaks with Chris Lewicki from Planetary Resources and he's talking about an incredible science project that anyone can get involved with that will benefit humanity for generations to come. Planetary Resources raises money for the innovation of new technology to explore outer space, specifically asteroids. These asteroids are full of natural resources that will benefit the future of planet Earth. Chris explains that the crowd funding project also is bringing outer space down to Earth, by allowing anyone to use a telescope, take a 'selfie' photo of themselves in space, and gain overall knowledge about the solar system. The Planetary Resources group is raising money to raise awareness about science & education and funds projects that support this mission.

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Episode # 200 Be Part of Scientific History

Natalie: Today I have a very special and unusual show. I'm talking with Chris Lewicki from Planetary Resources and he's talking about this incredible science project that we can all get involve with that will help to educate generations to come. So, stay tuned.

Natalie: Hi! I'm Natalie Ledwell and this is The Inspiration Show and today my special guest is Chris Lewicki. Hi, Chris. How are you?

Chris: I'm great! How are you Natalie?

Natalie: Good. Now, you can probably already tell from the set up that we've got here, this is an unusual show but Chris is involved in extremely inspiring and very worthwhile project. So, why don't we first start Chris with your background and who you are?

Chris: Well, I'm president and chief asteroid miner at Planetary Resources. Actually, an aerospace engineer and I'd spent about 10 years of my career working with NASA at a Jet Propulsion Laboratory and I had the opportunity to really, really fun stuff. I was flight director for the Spirit and Opportunity Mars Rovers when we landed those first kind of drive on mine Earth, first kind of drive on mine Mars and then the fun continued, and I took that to the Phoenix Mars Lander where I was the mission manager for the surface mission, all the way out to the end of that. So, those were just two really incredible experiences and we're taking kind of that experience of how to do things in space. We've built a great team here at Planetary Resources to grout and yet resources from asteroids for the future of humanity and for exploring states.

Natalie: So, here's the thing, you were involved with having the little bugging thing on Mars. Most people go "Oh, my god! It was a sub-massive accomplishment, hands on heads." You know I don't really need to do anymore but of course you're not stopping there. You've got this incredible crowd funded project that you're working on and so, I can see a little contraction in the background. Can you just tell us a little bit about the project you're working with?

Chris: Sure.

Natalie: And what this thing is?

Chris: So, to explore space, you can do it a couple of different ways. We're using robots.

Natalie: Right.

Chris: And this is essentially a robotic geologist, one of our little prospects in space craft. This is what we need to take out to near earth asteroids to really learn about what's on them, how much they might be worth and how do you wipe and going, how you might go about the next step of mining them. And this is a full size base crap up in space and what it is when it gets up there, I know and look at here at the back, is it is effectively a telescope. So, when we go into space we deploy out these cellar pillars, we extend out a little piece of our optical telescope and then we have a few other contractions that we'll talk about in a moment. And our plan is to put many of these up in the earth orbit, had there been an early process of developing the technology, demoing it and the first steps of going out to the asteroids and really, the story with our crowd funding project which we just started on kick starter. All of the engineers, everyone in the company actually almost everyone in the company has been an engineer at some point in their life.

Natalie: Right.

Chris: Our founders Eric Anderson and Peter Diamandis both started at aerospace engineers. I'm an aerospace engineer and we've all been inspiring along the way about education whether its science, technology, engineering and math or really just you know the wonders of space and while we're mining asteroids, we found what was really a fun opportunity that you kind of take everyone else along for the ride and its basic things you know like being able to take our space telescope and grab control of it. Do your own observations, look at Jupiter, help us characterized asteroids or look deep into the solar system. So, you can do that personally. Other things that we have in our crowd funding campaign is being able to do that for classrooms or taking it to a community experience, to your local high school for example or a science center, big or small but really the fun thing for us was making that kind of individual connection. One of the most fun things I have ever had the delight to experience in my career is landing on Mars, coming up with a plan, telling a robot to do something and the you know weigh cause their light, time and speed of light and all that kind of stuff but then it comes back and it did what you told it to do. There's a picture to prove it and that was one of those things that from a guy growing up in dairy country in northern Wisconsin, it was like "Oh, I did that. And that was awesome and I want to share that experience with everyone." So, what we've done is we've got a little camera boom down here at the bottom, it's kind of just out of frame, just up a little bit. We've taken this one step further; you're probably familiar with the curiosity Mars rovers that big car size rover that's on Mars right now.

Natalie: Yup.

Chris: Everyone loves the pictures of Mars but that pictures that everyone really likes are the pictures that the rover on Mars, and that's really the selfie like taking your cell phone, holding it out, taking you, giving you the Eiffel Tower on the background. So, we've come in the capability for this space craft to do a selfie. We've got a little camera boom back here that'll just give a nice view down the telescope boom as your taking a picture of the back of our office or the limb of the earth. So, you get that beautiful picture over this telescope out in its environment in space but to really make it one level more fun and just you know finding the edge meant. We have the opportunity to take a little display here on the bottom and anyone in the world in our kick starter can actually pledge and let her and for 25 bucks you can put whatever picture you want out there. It can be you and your family. It can be someone you love. It could be a message. It could even be an advertisement actually if you want it to be that. But will put that up on the space craft, take a picture of it as we're orbiting all over the earth and send it back to you.

Natalie: Yeah.

Chris: So, that's really the essence of our project and for everyone here at the company it's about kind of engaging people and being able to do something that's kind of non-technical, not that difficult to figure out but definitely fun, definitely get to people to be excited about science and engineering in space and something we can easily do.

Natalie: Right. Excellent! And you know what I love about this is your making it accessible to everybody, you know.

Chris: Yes.

Natalie: Like how cool is it, really, to, I was just when you were saying I'm thinking "Oh, mind movies team. We can have a photo of us with the yawn arc of the planet. That would be amazing."

Chris: Yeah.

Natalie: Yeah. But you know any of that. And being able to give this information back to like to kids like you know in the school room, being able to have them access to actually see Jupiter or see Saturn and which is what you'll have the capability of doing from this telescope, right?

Chris: Exactly! Instead of like you said it's being able to share that with really anyone who's interested.

Natalie: Yeah.

Chris: And when I worked at NASA, of course we will share all the pictures and tell you the stories and everything but its kind of passive and really only a couple hundred people ever have had the opportunity to kind of get directly involved and this is something that you know we can take to the entire planet and give that people that kind of hands on experience. So, it's just really fun and something that at least technically there are funnier things I probably would never do it, detecting selves very seriously.

Natalie: Right.

Chris: So, this is something as a company its fun, just where we are in the world and technology and how we run our business to be able to just engage with everyone who finds this stuff as interesting as we do.

Natalie: Right. And so, anyone who's watching the video actually does have the opportunity to contribute to this amazing project. So, tell us about the kick starter program. What's your target and where are you up to?

Chris: Oh, we just launched it yesterday. It will be running for 33 days and it closes down at June. We, in the first 24 hours have raised over $400,000 already. Our target is $1,000,000. Kind of a big target for kick starter but we're clearly gonna be able to make that. We're the most successful photography category so far. This is of course a camera.

Natalie: Yes.

Chris: This type is a VNA unique location. Our goal really was setting our level for our campaign wasn't that that was how much money we needed to do this. It was for us, if there's that much interest, we can addressed our plans to take everyone along with us and it looks like people are very interested. So, for people to take a look at the pledge levels, we've got an awesome video which kind of describes the whole program, a bunch of interesting people in it like Richard Branson, Jason Silva, half a dozen leaders of a museum since science communities even high school teachers are in this and of course people on our teams as well. Remember the science guy who makes an appearance at the zone. To find that go to kick starter and search for ARKYD. This is the ARKYD satellite spelled A-R-K-Y-D or you can go to There's also a list of programs there so that they're really enjoy the video and we're gonna be adding lots of content, adding lots of answers to questions and probably even adding new things that we might be able to do base on what people are interested in.

Natalie: Yup. And that you know this is not just for adults and children alive today but this is for generations to come as well. And you know what as you're talking I actually have the page up behind the camera, the Skype thing here and I can see the numbers ticking over. So, it's really like this is live. It's exciting!

Chris: Yeah.

Natalie: So guys, if you click on the banner to the side there you'll go straight through directly to the page. So, you don't have to go looking around for it so we can make it really easy for you to make a donation. And so, it can be of any amount but as little as $25 will be able to get you the opportunity to have your photo a taken in space which is really cool.

Chris: Yeah. And for all the high rollers out there, we've got several people who have already gone up to the maximum limit of kick starter which is $10,000.

Natalie: Right.

Chris: And at the high levels are really all about benefiting herbs and educations need in scientific organizations. We're gonna be talking in the next couple of days with different groups who are doing research that normally they would have to write a grant, wait from the government for a year, two or three and they would be asking for tens and millions of dollars to do something. And what we're doing essentially is democratizing access to this; we can allow people for example to do the galaxy science that they would have to otherwise wait for five years to maybe get a chance to doing. That's just something that we can do with the space telescope and get people direct access to it.

Natalie: Yeah.

Chris: So, it's there other things that are fun too if at the top level if we discover several asteroids. You can have the privileged that I also had from having your own asteroid. You can go out check out 13069 Lewicki.

Natalie: Yeah.

Chris: And if we discover an asteroid on your time of the telescope, we will use the name here at the company for that asteroid and also suggested to the authorities globally who do such things.

Natalie: Great! And so with the asteroids, these aren't always the only equation calls with the earth like you know maybe its.

Chris: We hope so, at least.

Natalie: Alright.

Chris: As far as we know we're on no imminent danger although we're talking here on Thursday on Friday there's an asteroid 1998 QE2 which is 3 kilometers across. It has something like the size of 8 cruise ships and this is a huge, huge asteroid. There's no chance at all that it'll be a problem for us but it's a very, very big asteroid making it close path but we actually haven't found them all yet. That's the thing with asteroids; find them before they find you.

Natalie: Right. Excellent! And so, what are the type of things that you're looking to learn from these asteroids?

Chris: So, we're looking for the ones that are most accessible. You might think of the moon as something really close then maybe we should go and tours our base and go after the moon. But imagine climbing a mountain and the moon in some ways is like climbing a mountain. You have to get up in space and then you have to climb a little bit farther kind of down into the gravity well of moon. But it kinda happens that there's the case that many of the asteroids that we have found so far about 1,500 of them are kind of on the way up the mountain as you're going to the moon.

Natalie: Yup.

Chris: They're actually closer from an energy stand point than our own moon is and those are the ones that we're really excited about from Resources. So, this is water. We can use water for human life in space. We can use it for rocket funeral. We break it into hydrogen and oxygen.

Natalie: Yeah.

Chris: That's what the space shuttle use.

Natalie: Yeah.

Chris: And then of course, if we're able to do things like that, we're able to get the really interesting stuff like Platinum Group Metals which of course style for 50,000-60,000 kilogram here on earth. So, that's something that we know from meteorites that there's a lot of that stuff in space and that's really what we're looking for with these telescopes just to find out which are the interesting ones, kind of just like you do in mining and prospecting.

Natalie: Yup.

Chris: And then continue from there.

Natalie: Wow! That's so awesome. Chris, thank you so much for joining me today. It's been a really interesting show and I'm so glad that we got the opportunity to chat.

Chris: Yeah. I enjoyed it as well. Thank you a lot.

Natalie: No worries.

Chris: And we'll see what everyone thinks about it and talk to you again soon Natalie.

Natalie: Yeah. So, guys don't forget, click on the banner to the side, go through make a donation there and share this video. Click the Facebook and the Twitter share buttons above and send this information out to as many people as possible. And if you haven't done so, make sure that you download the app for The Inspiration Show so you can start watching these shows on the go, you don't have to be sitting in front of your computer to do that. And if you haven't done so already, put your email on the box above there to get the Manifesting with the Masters Video E-Course. Its valued $87 and you'll get it for free. So, guys until next time, remember to live large, choose courageously and love without limits. We'll see you soon.




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