Director of Science and Technology
Dr. Bruce Betts is Director of Science and Technology for The Planetary Society, the world’s largest space interest group. Dr. Betts is a planetary scientist who earned a B.S. in physics and math and an M.S. in Applied Physics from Stanford and a Ph.D. in Planetary Science with a minor in Geology from Caltech. He spent several years with San Juan Institute/Planetary Science Institute as a Research Scientist, and later Senior Research Scientist. He studied planetary surfaces, including Mars, the Moon, and Jupiter’s moons, using infrared and other data, and published several scientific papers on these subjects. Dr. Betts spent three years at NASA headquarters managing planetary instrument development programs to design spacecraft science instruments.
At The Planetary Society, he has had copious project management experience, having managed a number of flight instrument (both science and public outreach) projects, including silica glass DVDs on the Mars Exploration Rovers and Phoenix lander carrying millions of names and Mars literature, and the LIFE biology experiment that flew on the Russian Phobos sample return mission. He is the Imaging Team Lead for The Planetary Society’s LightSail solar sail mission, and led a NASA grant studying microrovers assisting human exploration. He has also overseen or managed a number of additional projects designed to excite and involve the public in space exploration.
He regularly writes for The Planetary Society member magazine The Planetary Report, and on his blog on planetary.org. His twitter feed @RandomSpaceFact provides easy night sky astronomy and random space facts. He also co-hosts the "What's Up?" feature on the weekly Planetary Radio show (150 radio stations, XM/Sirius satellite radio, and podcast). He is a frequent guest on History Channel’s The Universe. Dr. Betts is an Adjunct Professor with California State University Dominguez Hills and his recent Introduction to Astronomy and Planetary Science course is available online. He is an Alumnus Senior Scientist with Planetary Science Institute
Latest Planetary Radio Appearance
07/15/2014 | 28:50
LightSail, the Planetary Society’s innovative solar sail cubesat, will ride into space on the huge SpaceX Falcon Heavy, now in development. Bill Nye and others join us for a live celebration of this announcement.
Latest Blog Posts
Posted 2014/08/15 06:04 CDT | 2 comments
Seven possible interstellar dust grains have been found by Stardust@home, a citizen scientist project that The Planetary Society helped out early on. The dust grains would be the first ever examples of contemporary interstellar dust.
Posted 2014/07/31 12:23 CDT | 9 comments
The Planetary Society has been selected as an education outreach partner on the just-selected NASA Mars 2020 Mastcam-Z instrument, led by Jim Bell, Planetary Society Board president and Arizona State University professor.