You can read the full story by Alan Boyle and Matt Rivera here.
Meanwhile, a team from the University of Michigan’s Aerospace Engineering Department has launched a Kickstarter campaign to develop a plasma thruster capable of sending CubeSats beyond Earth orbit. The team’s partners include Planetary Resources and three NASA centers.
We are currently developing the CubeSat Ambipolar Thruster (CAT), a new plasma propulsion system which will push small spacecraft like CubeSats around in orbit or far beyond the Earth.
This new thruster technology will enable us to send low-cost satellites from the Earth to distant destinations in the Solar System. You can be a part of space exploration history! By contributing to the CAT, you can help future spacecraft make amazing discoveries about extraterrestrial bodies and further our understanding of the near-Earth environment, the Solar System, and beyond. Who knows, maybe we’ll even be able to find life on those beckoning watery moons of Jupiter or Saturn!