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Headshot of Bruce Betts

Bruce Betts

Director of Science and Technology

bruce.betts@planetary.org
+1-626-793-5100

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

The Exciting Year Ahead on the Final Frontier

01/06/2015 | 28:50
Listen

The Planetary Society’s experts look forward to a great year of firsts in the solar system and beyond.

More Planetary Radio shows »

Latest Blog Posts

Shoemaker NEO Grant Winners Announced: Saving the World

Posted 2015/04/15 01:03 CDT | 0 comment

The six winners of the 2015 Shoemaker NEO Grants will use the grants to upgrade their observatories to improve their abilities to study potentially dangerous asteroids.

Planetary Defense Conference: Steps to Prevent Asteroid Impact

Posted 2015/04/13 07:23 CDT | 0 comment

From Italy, Bruce Betts gives background and information at the start of the Planetary Defense Conference, which addresses the asteroid threat. Bruce summarizes steps to prevent asteroid impact.

Revitalized 0.81m telescope studying properties of NEOs

Posted 2015/03/31 11:04 CDT | 0 comment

Thanks to a new focal reducer and re-aluminized mirror from a Shoemaker NEO grant, a 0.81-meter telescope in Italy is performing astrometric follow-up observations and physical studies of asteroids.

Older blog posts »

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