Space notes from Bee

22 October 2008

Updates from the Board of Directors at The Planetary Society

Greetings to all from London!

Do you know of The Planetary Society? The Planetary Society has inspired millions of people to explore our worlds and search for the answers to the questions most pertinent to our place in the cosmos - is there life out there? how does the Earth work and sustain us all? how is it to live on Mars? what new technologies will allow us to ensure our a secure future for all of humanity? and the list goes on...

Established by Carl Sagan, Louis Friedman and Bruce Murray, The Planetary Society is the world's largest non-governmental planetary and space interest group.

With great joy I would like to share an update with you: I have recently been invited on to the Board of Directors of The Planetary Society! In my role as a Board Member, I shall provide input w.r.t the international focus as well as youth mandate via the significance of our work at Space Generation Advisory Council. I would like to represent all your collective voice and not just a personal one in my activities with TPS as I feel that this unique opportunity is an invitation for the youth to stop being a 'consumer' of our space programs. It is for us to become serious, reliable and equal partners in framing today's space policies and programs that will affect our future and make sure that they are strengthened by strong international collaborations. SGAC and TPS have valued each others' activities and have been partnering with the Planetary Society on various projects including the 50 Year Vision Project.

So, I extend this invitation to you to help us become these 'serious partners' that we talk of. My question to you IS: How can youth be more proactive in helping shape our space programs? These can be space programs for mapping Earth processes and understanding them better, for improving disaster management, for exploring new 'earths', to learn how to back up our biosphere, to become multi planet species and to bring about all the cutting-edge technologies that are needed to get there, etc. I invite your comments and suggestions on how we can finally go boldly where no one has been before!

Is it via more outreach? Is it via using our social networks and Web 2.0 tools? How would YOU do it?

I look forward to all your interesting thoughts!

Web Links:
The Planetary Society:
New Board Members:
Planetary Society Board of Directors:

News Release:
The Planetary Society
65 N. Catalina Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91106-2301 (626) 793-5100 Fax (626) 793-5528
E-mail: Web:

For Immediate Release: October 21, 2008
Contact: Susan Lendroth, 626-793-5100 ext 237

Global Economic Crisis Accentuates Need for Science, Earth Observations and Space Programs to Create a Positive Future
International Cooperation in These Endeavors is Imperative, Planetary Society Board of Directors State

Science is an imperative. Space is not a luxury. We cannot walk away from these endeavors without damaging our future on this planet.

In light of the economic turmoil currently roiling nations around the globe, The Planetary Society's Board of Directors believes that it is vital that we not lose sight of the importance and long-term economic benefit of maintaining a strong commitment to scientific research, including space exploration. Today the Board issued the following statement:

To safeguard humanity's home planet and better understand the universe that surrounds it, we need a vibrant and diverse space program, forged through global cooperation that shares the tasks, shares the benefits, and shares the costs. Whatever the immediate economic problems may be, we believe that strong space programs should continue to be important priorities for both the US and other nations.

From monitoring Earth from space to studying long-term climate change on other worlds, the space program enables scientists to paint the big picture - helping us to better understand the global forces that affect us all. No one nation alone benefits from better understanding that picture, and to paint it large and detailed enough, no one nation alone can bear the expense.

Space exploration programs not only provide a peaceful context for global engagement, but also contribute to skilled workforces and new technologies in participating nations, inspiring students to enter science and engineering fields. Observing Earth from space and understanding our planetary environment are as crucial to our survival as are the basics of a good economy.

As Voyager 1 prepared to leave our planetary neighborhood, Carl Sagan, co-founder of The Planetary Society, suggested the spacecraft be turned for one last look at its home planet. The resulting image of Earth as a single blue point of light gave us a profound new view of our world - from a perspective possible only through space exploration.

Sagan wrote, "It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known."

The Planetary Society's Board of Directors affirmed this statement in Boston, where they held their semi-annual meeting. Planetary scientist Jim Bell assumed the helm as the Society's new president, succeeding Neil deGrasse Tyson, whose term has ended. The Planetary Society also added two new board members: Alexis Livanos, corporate vice president and president of Northrop Grumman's Space Technology sector; and Bijal "Bee" Thakore, Regional Coordinator for Asia Pacific, Space Generation Advisory Council.

The Planetary Society's other Board members include Chairman Dan Geraci, Vice President Bill Nye, Heidi Hammel, Scott Hubbard, Wesley T. Huntress, Jr., Lon Levin, Chris McKay, Bruce Murray, Elon Musk, Joseph Ryan, Steven Spielberg and George Yancopoulos.

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