Elon Musk may soon find himself a competitor in the space business, at least as far as getting investors. And it isn't another entrepreneur.

It's NASA.

At the Vegas Black Hat security conference, NASA's chief engineer Brian Muirhead proposed a new source of finances: crowdfunding. 

“God, I’d love it. The problem with my new study … is funding. Unfortunately, these missions are pretty expensive. We’d love to have the public involved, the public support. The problem is we still have to work through Congress,” he said.

NASA has succeeded before in the public support kingdom: their Twitter account for the Curiosity Mars rover was an internet sensation, with people collecting in Times Square to follow the landing. And in April, they raised $52,000 on Indiegogo to promote a movie trailer to be shown before the Star Trek film.

Dan Hendrickson, Director, Space Systems of the Aerospace Industries Association of America told brandchannel, "Campaigns like this one demonstrate that the average American is actually quite passionate about the space program. We’ve had over 1,300 donors in just 7 days put down their own money to publicize space programs for our students and young people." 

If NASA does indeed continue to utilize crowdfunding, Musk and other entrepreneurs will have some serious competition in the space investor race.