Everybody Stop: Bill Nye Is Building a Spaceship

May 14, 2015 at 5:59 pm |

We realize this all sounds a little crazy, but bear with us.

In a dream born from the late science guru Carl Sagan, Bill Nye and his Planetary Society have successfully crowdfunded enough money in their initial goal to construct and eventually launch what they call a LightSail into space.

The LightSail is the best example of the concept of solar sailing, which uses matter-less photons from the Sun to propel spacecrafts for the purpose of exploration.

Decades after Carl Sagan proposed the concept of the LightSail on national TV, the Planetary Society – a nongovernmental nonprofit of space experts and enthusiasts – has constructed the two basic parts necessary for the LightSail and are ready to send their creation into low-Earth orbit on May 20 for preliminary testing.

The LightSail consists of a small, do-it-yourself satellite called a CubeSat as well as a “sail” made up of four panels of Mylar, a reflective covering typically used in greenhouses. Once launched, the 32+ square meters of Mylar sail will open and use nothing but the momentum of light (called “solar waves”) to move through space.

Starting with an original goal of $200,000 on their Kickstarter, the Planetary Society has already earned over $350,000 in just one day.

Bill Nye the Science Guy is tackling the final frontier, space. But he needs your help!