Cameron, best known for his blockbuster films, Titanic and The Terminator, has since broadened his focus to include the IMAX documentaries, Ghosts of the Abyss and Aliens of the Deep. Cameron's IMAX films follow in the tradition of Carl Sagan's 1980 landmark television series, Cosmos, for which the Society's newest award is named. Cameron's films enable audiences to join true-life adventures as vicarious participants in exploration missions as exciting as any Hollywood fiction.
Sagan's widow and long-time collaborator, Planetary Society Board Member and co-writer of the Cosmos television series, Ann Druyan, will present Cameron with the Society's Cosmos Award. The award, funded by the M.R. and Evelyn Hudson Foundation, recognizes and applauds those who present science and scientists to the public in a realistic and enthralling way. Over time, through this award and the prestige associated with it, the Society hopes to encourage excellence in the portrayal of science to the public.
"The pace of scientific discovery is unprecedented," said Druyan. "Our ability to visualize the universe that science is revealing has never been greater and yet this challenge is too often ignored. When a director of James Cameron's stature puts his genius in the service of greater public scientific understanding, we all benefit in countless ways."
A firm supporter of planetary exploration, Cameron is a member of the NASA Advisory Council, and an innovator planning future film projects to introduce audiences to the wonders that await us on Mars. His film Aliens of the Deep deftly connects the mysterious wonders of our own deep ocean with what explorers might discover on the other water-world of our solar system, Jupiter's moon Europa.
Cameron stated, "Exploration is not a luxury we can't afford; it's a necessity we can't afford to lose. Pushing farther into the unknown is our greatest endeavor as a civilization and our deepest responsibility to future generations."
As the world's largest space-interest organization, The Planetary Society is dedicated to inspiring the public with the adventure and mystery of space exploration. The Society plays a leading role in bringing together scientists, engineers, writers, educators, and filmmakers in innovative coalitions to engage the public and fuel support for exploring other worlds.
"Cameron is an adventurer who has the rare ability to capture and convey the excitement of exploration to a wide audience, bringing everyone along for the ride of their lives," said Louis Friedman, Executive Director of The Planetary Society. "We believe that it is important to encourage and acknowledge those writers, journalists, and filmmakers, like Cameron, who can present scientific information both accurately and entertainingly to generate public enthusiasm for our journey into space."
On hand for the presentation will be luminaries from the space community, including Buzz Aldrin, Society Officers Neil deGrasse Tyson, Bill Nye, Wesley T. Huntress, Jr. and Louis Friedman. Presenting Sponsor for the dinner is Northrop Grumman Corporation, with additional sponsorships from SpaceX and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.