In celebration of its 25th Anniversary, The Planetary Society will honor science fiction author Ray Bradbury and film director James Cameron with two special awards: The Thomas O. Paine Award for the Advancement of Human Exploration of Mars to Bradbury and The Planetary Society's inaugural Cosmos Award for Outstanding Public Presentation of Science to Cameron.
Both awards will be presented at The Planetary Society's 25th Anniversary Gala Awards Dinner: Our Next Age of Exploration on November 12, 2005. For more information, visit http://planetary.org/2005awardsdinner
As The Planetary Society looks back on our past 25 years and forward to the exciting decades of exploration to come, these two recipients embody the dreams of space travel that propel us forward and show us what we can accomplish in the future.
"Bradbury and Cameron ideally represent the spirits of these awards," said Neil deGrasse Tyson, Planetary Society Board Chairman. "Both of these storytellers have supplied powerful testimony to the rationale for human space exploration beyond the Moon - a subject now revived in public and political discourse."
Engaging the public in the romance of space exploration is an integral part of The Planetary Society's mission. Sagan's landmark television series, Cosmos - written with Ann Druyan, who is chairing the dinner - also celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. Cosmos fueled the imagination of millions of viewers around the world. To honor the innovators who follow in this tradition of presenting science and scientists in an accurate, yet entertaining and enthralling way, the Society is bestowing the first Cosmos Award for Outstanding Public Presentation of Science to James Cameron.
Cameron's recent IMAX films Ghosts of the Abyss and Aliens of the Deep have allowed audiences to join true-life adventures with real explorers as exciting as any fictional plot that Hollywood could devise. Titanic-director Cameron is a firm supporter of planetary exploration, a member of the NASA Advisory Council, and is planning future film projects to introduce audiences to the wonders that await us on Mars.
By inspiring generations of men and women who will one day build the spacecraft to take humans to Mars, Bradbury has been named the latest recipient of The Thomas O. Paine Memorial Award for the Advancement of Human Exploration of Mars. Bradbury has been whisking readers to Mars and other distant reaches of the universe for over half a century. Many of the scientists and engineers now engaged in planetary exploration were first introduced to alien worlds in Bradbury's short stories and novels, including his famous Martian Chronicles.
Tom Paine served on The Planetary Society's Board of Directors for many years and was NASA Administrator at the time of the Apollo 11 moon landing. Paine was a long time advocate of sending humans to explore Mars, and the Society established an award in his honor in the early 1990s, presenting the first Thomas O. Paine Memorial Award to planetary scientist Christopher McKay and then-NASA Administrator Daniel Goldin in 1994. Other past winners include Planetary Society co-founder Carl Sagan, the Apollo-Soyuz astronauts, and the Mars Pathfinder and Mars Global Surveyor teams.
Both awards will be presented on November 12 at The Planetary Society's 25th Anniversary Awards Gala Dinner at the world-famous Santa Anita Park, the proceeds of which will help fund Society projects to advance the exploration of the solar system and the search for extraterrestrial life.