Crowdfunding NASA? I’m skeptical

In an August 20 press release, an outfit called Conzortia Business Funding, Inc., announces that it’s initiated a “Crowdfund NASA” project.

“Amid budget cuts and program terminations, NASA’s future is in serious question,” Conzortia asserts, “and certainly the agency programs are in questionable financial disarray. Yet the current Mars Rover project is undoubtedly a success with its adoring public, who are holding up their thumbs crying, “Live. Live. Live.”, toward their government concerning the space program which currently has an uncertain future. And from deep within this crowd has arisen the optimistic promise of “Fund NASA” from thousands who have said that, given the opportunity, they would contribute to the future of this doomed space agency.”

Hence, “Crowdfund NASA.” The “FAQ” (frequently asked questions) page of the project’s web site contains only this brief statement: “Raising funds for NASA – We love NASA, its history & its mission. We are proud to be helping to keep our space station program alive & viable for the future.”

Conzortia offers two NASA crowdfunding projects – Crowdfund NASA and Save Our Space Station, both with a goal of raising $1 million in 91 days, both 0% funded as of today.

I’m skeptical for more than one reason.

First, I suspect that the aerospace industry may be behind this crowdfunding project. It wouldn’t be the first time that an effort described as a “grassroots” space advocacy initiative turns out to be “astroturf.” (See, for example, Citizens for Space Exploration, originally organized by Houston, Cocoa Beach, and Huntsville business interests and now allied with the aerospace industry’s Coalition for Space Exploration; and Future Space USA, backed by Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne.)

Second, space exploration is expensive. Really expensive. What could NASA do with $1 million? Perhaps it could fund a feasibility study of crowdfunding for NASA projects.

Third, out of ignorance I have to ask, is it legal for a government agency to take donations from the private sector?

About Crowdfund NASA, Conzortia CEO Robert Dobyns says this: “It’s Americans doing what we do best. Taking the initiative. Rolling up our sleeves. Pitching in when the going gets tough. Making a difference in our nation and the world around us. And with CrowdfundNASA.com, a difference in our galaxy!”

Dobyns lives in the Houston area and says, “NASA has strong ties to our community. It’s only natural that we would want to help in any way possible to preserve” it.

According to its web site, Conzortia Business Funding “is a U.S. corporation with offices located in Cheyenne, Wyoming providing artists, business owners and startups with a forum to connect with funders through the medium known as crowdfunding.”

According to CEO Dobyns’s LinkedIn profile, “We have launched a suite of crowdfunding platforms, each targeting a different needs sector Our equity-based platform is at http://www.Conzortia.com (awaiting SEC approval)
Our rewards-based platform is at http://www.Conzortia.net
Our teen-focused platform is at http://www.CrowdfundingKids.com
Our platform for fulfilling personal wishes – http://www.FundMyWish.com
Our crowdfunding platform for honeymoons at www.HoneymoonPlanners.info

That’s my five cents worth. What do you think?

 

(PS – Having been a journalism teacher, I’m a stickler for correct punctuation, and so I’ll note that the bad punctuation inside quote marks above is in the original….)

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2 Responses to “Crowdfunding NASA? I’m skeptical”

  1. Craig Levin Says:

    I’m wondering how the CrowdFundNASA & Uwingu sets will get along.

  2. Asteroid dreams, Part 1: detect, deflect…exploit? | doctorlinda Says:

    […] Also last summer, the start-up company Planetary Resources announced its plans for corporate mining of asteroids “for the benefit of humanity.”  I must note that, no matter what they say their “missions” are, corporations exist to make money. Period. Any benefits to humanity from mining operations are to the select few who profit from them. Last week Planetary Resources initiated a crowd-funding campaign to raise $1 million to build a small-scale space telescope “for the people.” As of today, the company says it’s raised $750,000. (Last summer, by the way, another outfit announced that it had initiated a “Crowdfund NASA” project.) […]


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