Planetary Society Celebrates 35th Anniversary

EMILY GERR

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October 24th, 2015 marked the 35th anniversary of the Planetary Society, a non-profit organization located in Pasadena California that has an open membership to anyone in the community. This organization, which often partners with NASA, involves themselves with research and engineering projects related to astronomy, planetary science, exploration, public outreach, and political advocacy. Their overall mission is to encourage further space exploration.

The Planetary Society was founded in 1980 by Carl Sagan and currently has over 40,000 members from from more than one hundred countries around the world. They are currently working on three featured projects.  Light Sail, a project that focuses on making low-cost space missions a reality for universities and research groups, Exoplanets, a program that focuses on finding and understanding planets outside of our solar system and, Planetary Deep Drill, a program that focuses on portable drills strong enough to dig below other planets surfaces. They have their own magazine titled, The Planetary Report, which keeps readers updated on the latest and greatest discoveries and accomplishments of the society. As well as a great way to stay informed, They also offer many opportunities for the community to become hands-on involved through numerous types of volunteer work.  

The event was called More to Explore: A Space Celebration, and was held in the Pasadena Civic Auditorium. It featured Bill Nye, CEO of the Planetary Society, Neil Degrasse Tyson, an astrophysicist, scientist, author, and host of the award winning tv series, The Cosmos, as well as many other influential and powerful people in the world of science. The night was kicked off with a dinner and then the show. The celebration consisted of an award ceremony in which Neil Degrasse Tyson received his first Cosmo Award and current updates in the world of science. They introduced their progress with their latest project, Light Sail, a rocket ship that runs on solely solar energy and talked about their future plans for the hopeful mission to Mars.

Along with the exciting news about progress in space exploration, they featured performances from a local dance group and an up and coming comedian. The two hour long celebration came to a close with a fun photobooth set up outside in which participants could take a selfie and have it sent to space during the next Light Sail launch.

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