An Experiment in Grassroots Fundraising
Hi, my name is Travis Metcalfe. I'm an astronomer at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado. I started White Dwarf Research Corporation in 1999, while I was a graduate student at the University of Texas-Austin. There are no paid employees -- WDRC is run entirely on a volunteer basis by myself and the board of directors.
The Pale Blue Dot project was launched in January 2008 to help raise research funds for the Kepler Asteroseismic Science Consortium, which does not receive any funding from NASA even though our work is central to the science goals of the Kepler mission. The KASC is an international collaboration, and NASA is not allowed to fund foreign organizations. That's where you come in.
This is an experiment in grassroots fundraising for a major scientific project. I came up with the general idea in 2003, when thinking about how to fund a global telescope network. The details are simple: if we can recruit about 100,000 people to donate $10 each, we can establish an endowment to fund our research over the lifetime of the Kepler mission at a level comparable to the grant support that NASA could provide to a large U.S. research group.
While we build up the Pale Blue Dot endowment with your support, White Dwarf Research Corporation has helped students and early-career scientists present their research at scientific meetings of the Kepler Asteroseismic Science Consortium. Our sponsorship waived the registration fee for junior members of our collaboration for meetings held in Denmark in 2010, Boulder in 2011, and will reduce the fee at the forthcoming 2013 meeting in Australia. We couldn't have done it without you!
I am a professional astronomer, and WDRC is a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. You can feel confident that your donation will actually support cutting-edge scientific research on the stars that you adopt. So select a star and join the team! Who knows? Maybe a Pale Blue Dot will be discovered around the star that you adopt. How cool would that be?