For the past few decades, space exploration has largely focused on building incredible (occasionally incredibly expensive) high-end machines. It’s not hard to see why — machines like Curiosity and its rocket-powered hover crane are amazing accomplishments.
There’s another group of people, however, working to build spacecraft that can fit within 5-6 digit budgets rather than requiring yearly outlays from NASA or another national budget. Some of these programs have taken to Kickstarter in the hopes of securing funding — including a group from the University of Michigan that wants to build the Next Small Thing in thruster technology.
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