Planetary Society

Planetary Society

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Encyclopedia
The Planetary Society is a large, publicly supported, non-government and non-profit organization that has many research projects related to astronomy
Astronomy
Astronomy is a natural science that deals with the study of celestial objects and phenomena that originate outside the atmosphere of Earth...

. It was founded in 1980 by Carl Sagan
Carl Sagan
Carl Edward Sagan was an American astronomer, astrophysicist, cosmologist, author, science popularizer and science communicator in astronomy and natural sciences. He published more than 600 scientific papers and articles and was author, co-author or editor of more than 20 books...

, Bruce Murray
Bruce C. Murray
Bruce C. Murray was born November 30, 1931 in New York, NY. He is a professor emeritus of planetary science and geology at Caltech and was Director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory from April 1, 1976 to June 30, 1982.He received his Ph.D...

, and Louis Friedman
Louis Friedman
Louis Friedman is an American astronautics engineer and space spokesperson. He was born in New York and raised in the Bronx. Dr. Friedman was a co-founder of The Planetary Society with Carl Sagan and Bruce C. Murray.-Education and career:...

, and has members from 125 countries around the world.

The Society is dedicated to the exploration of Mars
Mars
Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun in the Solar System. The planet is named after the Roman god of war, Mars. It is often described as the "Red Planet", as the iron oxide prevalent on its surface gives it a reddish appearance...

 and the rest of the Solar System
Solar System
The Solar System consists of the Sun and the astronomical objects gravitationally bound in orbit around it, all of which formed from the collapse of a giant molecular cloud approximately 4.6 billion years ago. The vast majority of the system's mass is in the Sun...

, the search for Near Earth Objects
Near-Earth object
A near-Earth object is a Solar System object whose orbit brings it into close proximity with the Earth. All NEOs have a perihelion distance less than 1.3 AU. They include a few thousand near-Earth asteroids , near-Earth comets, a number of solar-orbiting spacecraft, and meteoroids large enough to...

, and the search for extraterrestrial life
Extraterrestrial life
Extraterrestrial life is defined as life that does not originate from Earth...

.

In addition to public outreach, the Planetary Society also sponsors novel and innovative projects that will "seed" further exploration. In June, 2005, the Society launched the Cosmos 1
Cosmos 1
Cosmos 1 was a project by Cosmos Studios and The Planetary Society to test a solar sail in space. As part of the project, an unmanned solar sail spacecraft christened Cosmos 1 was launched into space at 15:46:09 EDT on June 21, 2005 from the submarine Borisoglebsk in the Barents Sea...

craft to test the feasibility of solar sail
Solar sail
Solar sails are a form of spacecraft propulsion using the radiation pressure of light from a star or laser to push enormous ultra-thin mirrors to high speeds....

ing, but the launch rocket on which the satellite was piggy-backing failed shortly after liftoff.

The Planetary Society concurrently runs many programs. Two of the highest profile programs are Lightsail and Shuttle LIFE. Lightsail is a series of three ultralight spacecraft which will be propelled by sunlight. As of May 2011 Lightsail1 is undergoing deployment tests and is scheduled to piggyback on a future NASA mission. Shuttle LIFE (Living Interplanetary Life Experiment) is a two-part program designed to test the ability of microorganisms to survive in space. The first phase involves sending carefully packaged microorganisms into low earth orbit on a space shuttle. Shuttle LIFE was scheduled to fly on shuttle Endeavor's final flight on May 16, 2011 and returned to earth on June 1st. The second phase is to piggy-back on Russia's Phobos-Grunt
Phobos-Grunt
Fobos-Grunt or Phobos-Grunt was an attempted Russian sample return mission to Phobos, one of the moons of Mars. It was launched on 9 November 2011 at 02:16 local time from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, but subsequent rocket burns intended to set the craft on a course for Mars failed, leaving it...

 mission to Mars' moon Phobos and back. This three-year mission is designed to test the survivability of microorganisms in interplanetary flight and is set to launch some time in mid-Oct to mid-Nov 2011.

Mission


The society's mission is: "To inspire and involve the world's public in space exploration through advocacy, projects, and education".

History


The Planetary Society was founded in 1980 by Carl Sagan
Carl Sagan
Carl Edward Sagan was an American astronomer, astrophysicist, cosmologist, author, science popularizer and science communicator in astronomy and natural sciences. He published more than 600 scientific papers and articles and was author, co-author or editor of more than 20 books...

, Bruce Murray
Bruce C. Murray
Bruce C. Murray was born November 30, 1931 in New York, NY. He is a professor emeritus of planetary science and geology at Caltech and was Director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory from April 1, 1976 to June 30, 1982.He received his Ph.D...

, and Louis Friedman
Louis Friedman
Louis Friedman is an American astronautics engineer and space spokesperson. He was born in New York and raised in the Bronx. Dr. Friedman was a co-founder of The Planetary Society with Carl Sagan and Bruce C. Murray.-Education and career:...

 as a champion of public support of space exploration and the search for extraterrestrial. Until his death in 1996, the Society was actively led by Sagan, who used his celebrity and political clout to influence the political climate of the time, including protecting SETI
SETI
The search for extraterrestrial intelligence is the collective name for a number of activities people undertake to search for intelligent extraterrestrial life. Some of the most well known projects are run by the SETI Institute. SETI projects use scientific methods to search for intelligent life...

 in 1981 from congressional cancellation. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, the Society pushed its scientific and technologic agenda, which led to an increased interest in rover
Rover
-Leyland companies:* Rover Company , a British motorcycle and car manufacturing company, absorbed into Leyland Motor Corporation in 1967* Austin Rover Group , a mass-market car manufacturing subsidiary of Leyland...

-based planetary exploration and NASA
NASA
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research...

's New Horizons
New Horizons
New Horizons is a NASA robotic spacecraft mission currently en route to the dwarf planet Pluto. It is expected to be the first spacecraft to fly by and study Pluto and its moons, Charon, Nix, Hydra and S/2011 P 1. Its estimated arrival date at the Pluto-Charon system is July 14th, 2015...

 mission to Pluto
Pluto
Pluto, formal designation 134340 Pluto, is the second-most-massive known dwarf planet in the Solar System and the tenth-most-massive body observed directly orbiting the Sun...

.

In addition to its political affairs, the Society has created a number of space related projects and programs. The SETI program began with Paul Horowitz
Paul Horowitz
Paul Horowitz is a U.S. physicist and electrical engineer, known primarily for his work in electronics design, as well as for his role in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence .-Biography:...

’s Suitcase SETI and has grown to encompass searches in radio and optical wavelengths from the northern and southern hemispheres of the Earth. SETI@home
SETI@home
SETI@home is an Internet-based public volunteer computing project employing the BOINC software platform, hosted by the Space Sciences Laboratory, at the University of California, Berkeley, in the United States. SETI is an acronym for the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence...

, the largest distributed computing experiment on Earth, is perhaps the Society's best-known SETI project. Other project's include the development of the Mars Microphone instrument which flew on the failed Mars Polar Lander
Mars Polar Lander
The Mars Polar Lander, also referred to as the Mars Surveyor '98 Lander, was a 290-kilogram robotic spacecraft lander, launched by NASA on January 3, 1999, to study the soil and climate of Planum Australe, a region near the south pole on Mars, as part of the Mars Surveyor '98 mission...

 project, as well as the LightSail-1
LightSail-1
LightSail-1 is a solar sail project being developed by the Planetary Society, a non-profit organization devoted to space exploration. LightSail-1 was announced in November 2009. The kite-shaped spacecraft will have a total cross-section of , and will be fitted with guidance and diagnostic electronics...

 project, a solar sail
Solar sail
Solar sails are a form of spacecraft propulsion using the radiation pressure of light from a star or laser to push enormous ultra-thin mirrors to high speeds....

 project to determine if space travel is possible by using only sunlight.

Program Summary


The Planetary Society currently runs seven different program areas with a number of programs in each area:
  • Advocacy and education
  • Extrasolar planets
  • Innovative technologies
  • International mission participation
  • Mars exploration
    Exploration of Mars
    The exploration of Mars has been an important part of the space exploration programs of the Soviet Union, the United States, Europe, and Japan. Dozens of robotic spacecraft, including orbiters, landers, and rovers, have been launched toward Mars since the 1960s...

  • Near-Earth objects
  • Search for extraterrestrial life

Organization


The Planetary Society is governed by a 17-member volunteer Board of Directors
Board of directors
A board of directors is a body of elected or appointed members who jointly oversee the activities of a company or organization. Other names include board of governors, board of managers, board of regents, board of trustees, and board of visitors...

 chosen for their passion about and knowledge of space exploration. The Board has a Chairman, President, and Vice President and an Executive Committee, and normally meets twice per year to set the Society's policies and future directions. Nominations are sought and considered periodically from a variety of sources, including from members of the Board and Advisory Council, Society Members, staff, and experts in the space community. On June 7, 2010, the Society announced that famed American science educator Bill Nye
Bill Nye
William Sanford "Bill" Nye , popularly known as Bill Nye the Science Guy, is an American science educator, comedian, television host, actor, mechanical engineer, and scientist...

 would become the new executive director of the society.

Members


The Planetary Society's current Board of Directors includes the following:
  • Daniel Geraci, Chairman of the Board
  • Jim Bell
    James F. Bell, III
    James F. Bell III is a Professor of Astronomy at Arizona State University, specializing in the study of planetary geology, geochemistry and mineralogy using data obtained from telescopes and from various spacecraft missions. Dr...

    , President
  • Heidi Hammel
    Heidi Hammel
    -Background:Dr. Heidi B. Hammel is the Executive Vice President of AURA, Inc. , a consortium of 37 US members and 7 international affiliates...

    , Vice President
  • Bill Nye
    Bill Nye
    William Sanford "Bill" Nye , popularly known as Bill Nye the Science Guy, is an American science educator, comedian, television host, actor, mechanical engineer, and scientist...

    , Executive Director
  • Louis D. Friedman
    Louis Friedman
    Louis Friedman is an American astronautics engineer and space spokesperson. He was born in New York and raised in the Bronx. Dr. Friedman was a co-founder of The Planetary Society with Carl Sagan and Bruce C. Murray.-Education and career:...

    , Secretary-Treasurer of the Board
  • G. Scott Hubbard
  • Wesley Huntress
    Wesley Huntress
    Wesley T. Huntress, Jr. is president of the Planetary Society in the United States and Director of the Geophysical Laboratory at the Carnegie Institution. Huntress spent much of his career at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, also teaching as a professor at the associated California Institute of...

  • Neil deGrasse Tyson
    Neil deGrasse Tyson
    Neil deGrasse Tyson is an American astrophysicist, a science communicator, the Frederick P. Rose Director of the Hayden Planetarium at the Rose Center for Earth and Space, and a Research Associate in the Department of Astrophysics at the American Museum of Natural History...

  • Lon Levin
  • Alexis Livanos
  • John Logsdon
    John Logsdon
    John Logsdon is former Director of the Space Policy Institute at The George Washington University.Logsdon was a member of the Columbia Accident Investigation Board. He is a current member of the NASA Advisory Council...

  • Christopher McKay
    Christopher McKay
    Christopher P. McKay is a planetary scientist at NASA Ames Research Center, studying planetary atmospheres, astrobiology, and terraforming. McKay received his PhD in astrogeophysics from the University of Colorado in 1982 and his bachelor's degree from Florida Atlantic University.-Overview:McKay...

    , Advisory Council Chair
  • Bruce C. Murray
    Bruce C. Murray
    Bruce C. Murray was born November 30, 1931 in New York, NY. He is a professor emeritus of planetary science and geology at Caltech and was Director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory from April 1, 1976 to June 30, 1982.He received his Ph.D...

  • Elon Musk
    Elon Musk
    Elon Musk is an American engineer and entrepreneur heritage best known for co-founding PayPal, SpaceX and Tesla Motors. He is currently the CEO and CTO of SpaceX, CEO and Product Architect of Tesla Motors and Chairman of SolarCity...

  • Joseph Ryan
    Joseph Ryan
    Joseph Ryan may refer to:* Joseph Ryan , American rower, Olympic champion from 1904* Joe Ryan , former Abu Ghraib prison interrogator* Joe Ryan , former Australian rules footballer...

  • Bijal (Bee) Thakore


Notable members of its Advisory Council include:
  • Buzz Aldrin
    Buzz Aldrin
    Buzz Aldrin is an American mechanical engineer, retired United States Air Force pilot and astronaut who was the Lunar Module pilot on Apollo 11, the first manned lunar landing in history...

  • Richard Berendzen
  • Jacques Blamont
  • Ray Bradbury
    Ray Bradbury
    Ray Douglas Bradbury is an American fantasy, horror, science fiction, and mystery writer. Best known for his dystopian novel Fahrenheit 451 and for the science fiction stories gathered together as The Martian Chronicles and The Illustrated Man , Bradbury is one of the most celebrated among 20th...

  • David Brin
    David Brin
    Glen David Brin, Ph.D. is an American scientist and award-winning author of science fiction. He has received the Hugo, Locus, Campbell and Nebula Awards.-Biography:...

  • Franklin Chang-Diaz
  • Frank Drake
    Frank Drake
    Frank Donald Drake PhD is an American astronomer and astrophysicist. He is most notable as one of the pioneers in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, including the founding of SETI, mounting the first observational attempts at detecting extraterrestrial communications in 1961 in Project...

  • Owen Garriott
  • Tom Jones
    Thomas David Jones
    Thomas David Jones is a former United States astronaut. He was selected to the astronaut corps in 1990 and completed four space shuttle flights before retiring in 2001. He flew on STS-59 and STS-68 in 1994, STS-80 in 1996 and STS-98 in 2001. His total mission time was 53 days 48 minutes...

  • Jon Lomberg
    Jon Lomberg
    Jon Lomberg is an American space artist and science journalist. He was Carl Sagan's principal artistic collaborator for more than twenty years on many projects from 1972 until 1996...

  • Hans Mark
    Hans Mark
    Hans Michael Mark is a former Secretary of the Air Force and a former Deputy Administrator of NASA. He is an expert and consultant in aerospace design and national defense policy...

  • Robert Picardo
    Robert Picardo
    Robert Picardo is an American actor. He is best known for his portrayals of Dr. Dick Richards on ABC's China Beach, the Emergency Medical Hologram , also known as The Doctor, on UPN's Star Trek: Voyager, The Cowboy in Innerspace, Coach Cutlip on The Wonder Years , Ben Wheeler in Wagons East, and as...

  • John Rhys-Davies
    John Rhys-Davies
    John Rhys-Davies is a Welsh actor and voice actor. He is perhaps best known for playing the charismatic Arab excavator Sallah in the Indiana Jones films and the dwarf Gimli in The Lord of the Rings trilogy...

  • Kim Stanley Robinson
    Kim Stanley Robinson
    Kim Stanley Robinson is an American science fiction writer known for his award-winning Mars trilogy. His work delves into ecological and sociological themes regularly, and many of his novels appear to be the direct result of his own scientific fascinations, such as the fifteen years of research...

  • Donna Shirley
    Donna Shirley
    Donna Shirley is a former manager of Mars Exploration at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. She is the author of the book Managing Martians: The Extraordinary Story of a Woman's Lifelong Quest to Get to Mars—and of the Team Behind the Space Robot That Has Captured the Imagination of the World...


Projects


The Planetary Society sponsors projects to seed further exploration. Members privately fund these projects:
  • Earthdials
  • Mars Stations
  • Near-Earth Objects Research and Missions
  • Planetrek
  • Political Action
  • Red Rover Goes to Mars
  • Red Rover, Red Rover
  • Scholarship
    Scholarship
    A scholarship is an award of financial aid for a student to further education. Scholarships are awarded on various criteria usually reflecting the values and purposes of the donor or founder of the award.-Types:...

    s
  • Search for Extraterrestrial Life
    SETI
    The search for extraterrestrial intelligence is the collective name for a number of activities people undertake to search for intelligent extraterrestrial life. Some of the most well known projects are run by the SETI Institute. SETI projects use scientific methods to search for intelligent life...

  • Solar sail
    Solar sail
    Solar sails are a form of spacecraft propulsion using the radiation pressure of light from a star or laser to push enormous ultra-thin mirrors to high speeds....

    ing with Cosmos 1
    Cosmos 1
    Cosmos 1 was a project by Cosmos Studios and The Planetary Society to test a solar sail in space. As part of the project, an unmanned solar sail spacecraft christened Cosmos 1 was launched into space at 15:46:09 EDT on June 21, 2005 from the submarine Borisoglebsk in the Barents Sea...

    and LightSail-1
    LightSail-1
    LightSail-1 is a solar sail project being developed by the Planetary Society, a non-profit organization devoted to space exploration. LightSail-1 was announced in November 2009. The kite-shaped spacecraft will have a total cross-section of , and will be fitted with guidance and diagnostic electronics...

  • Living Interplanetary Flight Experiment
    Living Interplanetary Flight Experiment
    The Living Interplanetary Flight Experiment is an interplanetary mission developed by the Planetary Society. It consists of sending selected microorganisms on a three-year interplanetary round-trip in a small capsule aboard the Russian Fobos-Grunt spacecraft in 2011, which is a sample-return...

  • SETI@home
    SETI@home
    SETI@home is an Internet-based public volunteer computing project employing the BOINC software platform, hosted by the Space Sciences Laboratory, at the University of California, Berkeley, in the United States. SETI is an acronym for the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence...


The Planetary Report


The Planetary Report
Planetary Report
The Planetary Report is the internationally recognized Planetary Society's magazine, featuring articles written by space experts and photos to provide coverage of solar system exploration and related subjects...

 is the bimonthly internationally recognized flagship magazine of The Planetary Society, featuring articles and full-color photos to provide comprehensive coverage of discoveries on Earth
Earth
Earth is the third planet from the Sun, and the densest and fifth-largest of the eight planets in the Solar System. It is also the largest of the Solar System's four terrestrial planets...

 and other planets.

This bimonthly magazine reaches over 100,000 members of The Planetary Society all over the world, with news about planetary
Planetary
Planetary means relating to a planet or planets. It can also refer to:* Planetary , a comic book series by Warren Ellis and John Cassaday* Planetary habitability, the measure of an astronomical body's potential to develop and sustain life...

 missions, spacefaring nations, space explorers, planetary science controversies and the latest findings in humankind's exploration of the solar system
Solar System
The Solar System consists of the Sun and the astronomical objects gravitationally bound in orbit around it, all of which formed from the collapse of a giant molecular cloud approximately 4.6 billion years ago. The vast majority of the system's mass is in the Sun...

.

Planetary Radio



Members of The Planetary Society also host a weekly 30 minute radio programme and podcast
Podcast
A podcast is a series of digital media files that are released episodically and often downloaded through web syndication...

.

External links