|[March 17, 2014]
The Planetary Society Announces Largest Single Donation - Gift of $4.2 Million - Reaffirming Its Leadership Role in Planetary Science, Space Exploration and Public Involvement
PASADENA, Calif. --(Business Wire)--
Planetary Society, founded by Carl Sagan and today the world's
leading space interest group, has announced a donation of $4.2 million,
the largest single donation in its history. The donor, who wishes to
remain anonymous, is a member of the Society.
"This remarkable gift from a Planetary Society Member will enable us to
continue to advance space science and exploration for the betterment of
humankind," said Bill Nye, The Science Guy and Planetary Society CEO.
"We want everyone everywhere to understand our cosmos and, importantly,
our place within it. This gift will have a major impact on getting us
there. I share our donor's confidence that this gift will spur others to
give, knowing their donations will go even further."
The Society plans to use this generous donation to aggressively expand
its unique portfolio of technology, research, advocacy and education
The LightSail® solar sail mission, developing two cubesat
spacecraft at low-cost with revolutionary new solar sail technology to
maneuver in space using pure sunlight.
Planetary Defense. The Society runs the Gene Shoemaker Near
Earth Objects Grant program, which to date has provided over $300,000
of needed funding to highly skilled amateur astronomers to discover
and track near-Earth objects.
This $4.2 million gift will
continu the support of the Society's Laser Bees project, an
asteroid deflection concept using a swarm of small spacecraft to emit
laser bursts to vaporize portions of the asteroid's surface and push
the asteroid slowly out of harm's way.
Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI). Partnered with
Harvard professor Dr. Paul Horowitz, the program searches the skies
for bursts of high-intensity light that could be the signature of
Exoplanet Detection. Supporting Yale researcher Debra Fischer
and her team to search for exoplanets around our nearest stellar
companions at Alpha Centauri.
Space Advocacy. The Planetary Society plays a critical role in
the education and empowerment of the public to participate in the
political decisions of space exploration.
Education and Outreach. This gift will support expansion of the
Society's education materials and websites, including the Society's
ad-free website, www.planetary.org;
the newly created Bruce Murray Space Image Library; and the
highly informative full-color quarterly magazine, The Planetary
Report, including the popular student content weekly podcast and
the public radio series, Planetary Radio, now in its 11th year.
The Carl Sagan Fund for the Future. Named in honor of the
Society's co-founder Carl Sagan, this growing reserve fund ensures the
long-term financial health of the Society.
The Planetary Society will also use the newly donated funds to increase
staff in crucial areas, including education, marketing and development,
which will help to grow membership and position the organization for
Bill Nye noted that the gift coincides with The Planetary Society's
strategic planning process. "The timing of this amazing gift is
terrific, because our President Jim Bell just spearheaded a survey of
our Members on where their Planetary Society should be heading. The
additional funding enables us to think big and integrate our Members'
insights and recommendations."
"This is a defining moment for The Planetary Society," said Board
Chair Daniel T. Geraci, "We now have the opportunity to make the
kind of impactful decisions that will truly 'change the world.'"
Learn more about The Planetary Society: http://www.planetary.org
new job postings: http://www.planetary.org/jobs
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