You can now design your own space program. It starts with this open source telescope kit.
Ultrascope, from the Open Space Agency, is what’s known as an automated robot observatory (ARO) and the telescope’s design and software are available for download. With the assistance of a 3D printer and laser cutter, it can be built for around $300. The robot telescope has a ‘brain’ with a shield that runs the motors, drivers and bluetooth control by your phone. The mirror system catches light and bounces it to the image sensor of the attached smartphone. So, your phone will capture into image what you see through the scope. James Parr, founder of OSA, claims the current Mars rover captures images to the same quality as most smartphones do today.
Professional automated robot observatories are, of course, significantly larger and more expensive, like the Automated Planet Finder at Lick Observatory which costed about $10 million to build.
The Open Space Agency’s mission is “unlocking the talent and insight of citizen space explorers around the world” and they believe we are approaching a more democratized era of space exploration. They call themselves “astropreneurs” and one of their partners is Microsoft.
Source: 3D Printing Industry