To garner interest in its mission, the first Arkyd is focused on education and public access. In order to get that first telescope into space in 2015, the company wants to raise $1 million on Kickstarter by June 30.
A donation of $25 scores a backer a "space selfie," in which a user sends in a picture to be uploaded to a screen on the side of the telescope. The company then snaps a photo of the picture with the telescope and Earth in the background.
Other rewards: Giving $200 allows the donor to point the Arkyd at any celestial object. For $1,000, backers will get a tour of the company's Bellevue, Wash., facilities. Support for various education initiatives is available for a few thousand dollars, depending on the project.
As of this moment, the company has already raised more than $609,000.
Planetary Resources' mission has attracted high-profile backers including Google's Larry Page and Eric Schmidt, and Ross Perot, Jr., the son of the former presidential candidate. Company advisers include filmmaker James Cameron and former U.S. Air Force chief of staff Michael Moseley.
According to the company, members of its technical staff have worked on every recent U.S. Mars robotic rover including Spirit, Opportunity and Curiosity.