Shortly before 9:30 pm EDT Wednesday evening, Planetary Resources ongoing Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign passed the $1-million mark, its original goal. That was a major milestone for the effort, since Kickstarter efforts are done on an all-or-nothing basis: campaigns only get the money pledged if the total meets or exceeds the stated goal. If they had received $999,000 in pledges, they would have received nothing; now, they’ll get however much they end up raising by the time the campaign ends on June 30.
When I looked at the status of the Kickstarter effort last week, they appeared to be on track to break the $1-million mark on June 19, based on a simplistic trending of what they had achieved to date. That turned out to eb right, but for the wrong reasons. As the chart below shows, they were actually below that trendline up until Wednesday: on Tuesday, in fact, they had a net negative total, according to Kicktraq data, presumably because of cancellations or other corrections. Then, on Wednesday, they raised nearly $95,000, pushing them over the million-dollar mark.
What happened Wednesday? They got some recognition from cartoonist Matthew Inman, of The Oatmeal. Inman had already contributed $10,000 to the Kickstarter campaign, giving him, among other things, the right to propose a name for an asteroid discovered by the Arkyd spacecraft:
Get your photo in space for $25 http://t.co/DtGZjBsvDM I think this might hit $1M by the end of the day I'll get to name an asteroid
— Matthew Inman (@Oatmeal) June 20, 2013
Planetary Resources was also featured on the popular TWiT webcast Wednesday, getting additional attention that likely contributed to the surge in pledges.
The nearly $95,000 the campaign raised Wednesday was the third-highest single-day total, after the first two days of the effort. (They have also raised $55,906 so far Thursday, as of 1 pm EDT.) They’ll need more surges like that, though, in order to make their stretch goal of $2 million by June 30, which will fund upgrades to the Arkyd telescope to support exoplanet searches. They already have plans for a late publicity push, including webcasts with actors Rainn Wilson and Seth Green as well as space tourist and computer gaming pioneer Richard Garriott.