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http://images.spaceref.com/news/2015/xtronaut.jpg"Dante Lauretta, Leader of the NASA OSIRIS-REx asteroid sample return mission and University of Arizona Professor, combined his expertise in space mission planning and technology with his passion for strategy gaming to create Xtronaut: The Game of Solar System Exploration. The Xtronaut game captures the various challenges and excitement of planning a space mission. Lauretta co-founded Xtronaut Enterprises with space entrepreneur Michael Lyon to increase awareness of OSIRIS-REx and other space missions through entertainment and education programs. They launched a Kickstarter campaign to support the game on September 12, 2015, and have exceeded their funding goal of $15,000 with over 300 backers. The Kickstarter campaign has been awarded a "Staff Pick" on Kickstarter, and has received endorsements from groups that include Planetary Resources, the Planetary Society, and the United Launch Alliance."

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Crowdfunding Astronomy with Google Sky

"For nearly four years, NASA's Kepler space telescope searched for planets like the Earth around more than 150,000 stars similar to the Sun. In 2008 with in-kind support from several technology companies, our non-profit organization established the Pale Blue Dot Project, an adopt-a-star program that supports scientific research on the stars observed by the Kepler mission. I describe how this innovative crowdfunding program has engaged the public over the past seven years to help support an international team in an era of economic austerity."

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Students Design 3-D Printed Tools for Astronauts

"After three months of designing and modeling, a panel of judges from NASA, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers Foundation (ASME) and Made In Space Inc. have selected the winners of the Future Engineers 3-D Printing in Space Tool Challenge. The winner from the Teen Group (ages 13-19) is a Multipurpose Precision Maintenance Tool that Robert Hillan of Enterprise, Alabama, designed. The winner of the Junior Group (ages 5-12) is a Space Planter that Sydney Vernon from Bellevue, Washington, designed."

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Sending the Garden of ETON to Space

"In order for longterm space missions to be successful, a renewable food source is needed. We've developed a hydroponic garden specifically designed to function under conditions of microgravity - ETON. We've been offered the opportunity to launch NanoETON on the ISS to test our hypothesis that water can be circulated in microgravity using centripetal force. This research may help the development of hydroponic gardens for future space missions."

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"We are a team of passionate students at Boston University who have been working hundreds of man-hours per week for three years to make this possible. Interestingly, Boston University does not have any faculty members with backgrounds in rocket propulsion, so we have had to learn everything ourselves. As a result the program is entirely student run."

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Crowdfunding Opportunity: Project Spartan Spear

"Our goal is to create a fast and reliable launch vehicle that is cheaper than today's options for delivering CubeSats into space. Current forms of transportation for CubeSats can take several years and hundreds of thousands of dollars to take these miniature satellites into orbit. Our launch vehicle will be able to take CubeSats into orbit within a matter of months."

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Crowdfunding Opportunity: DreamUp

DreamUp, powered by NanoRacks, is a nonprofit organization now providing a place for student project teams to raise required funds to fly a science experiment to the International Space Station (ISS). The goal of DreamUp is to help students integrate into the commercial space community by delivering their experiments via NanoRacks to the U.S. National Laboratory onboard the ISS. "Whether you are a large company or a high school student, space is complexand although it isn't quite as expensive as in the past, it's still outside of the average student budget" says DreamUp Director Patricia Mayes. "Our platforms give access to the frontlines of space research and we see all of our educational payloads as a contribution to the space industry. We are thrilled to see NASA and the ISS Program Office supporting commercial and student research on Station."

In recent years, crowdfunding has become a popular method of funding new technology or entertainment products, or artistic projects. The idea is that people or projects ask for many small donations from individuals who support the proposed work, rather than a large amount from a single source. Crowdfunding is usually done via an online portal or platform which handles the financial transactions involved. The Universe Awareness (UNAWE) programme decided to undertake a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign centring on the resource Universe in a Box2. In this article we present the lessons learned and best practices from that campaign.

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