Director of Projects
Dr. Bruce Betts is Director of Projects 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
11/18/2013 | 28:50
The successful launch of MAVEN was covered by Mat Kaplan, Bruce Betts and Emily Lakdawalla, with special, launch site reports from Jim Bell and Bill Nye.
Latest Blog Posts
Posted 2014/03/07 04:35 CST | 1 comments
PlanetVac project leader Kris Zacny of Honeybee Robotics reports on presenting results of the Planetary Society project PlanetVac that created a prototype planetary dirt sampling system and tested it under Martian pressures.
Posted 2014/03/06 10:49 CST | 0 comments
Continue exploring Venus and begin looking at Mars in this video of class 5 of Bruce Betts' Introduction to Planetary Science and Astronomy class.
Posted 2014/02/28 01:30 CST | 0 comments
This video of class 4 of Bruce Betts' Introduction to Planetary Science and Astronomy class discusses eclipses, Mercury, Venus, and a comparison of the atmospheres of Venus, Earth, and Mars.