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The Planetary Society Announces Its Largest Single Donor Gift

A $4.2 Million Donation Re-affirming Its Leadership Role In Planetary Science, Space Exploration and Public Involvement


Diane Murphy
Phone: +1-626-793-5100

The Planetary Society, co-founded by Carl Sagan and today the world’s leading space interest group, has announced a donation of $4.2 million, the largest single donation in its history. The donor, who wishes to remain anonymous, is a member of the Society.

“This remarkable gift from a Planetary Society Member will enable us to further carry out our mission: We advance space science and exploration for the betterment of humankind,” said Bill Nye, The Science Guy and Planetary Society CEO. “We want everyone everywhere to understand the cosmos and our place within it. This gift will have a major impact on getting us there. I share our donor’s confidence that this gift will spur others to give, knowing their donations will go even further.”

The Planetary Society plans to use this generous donation to aggressively expand its unique portfolio of technology, research, advocacy, and education programs, including:

This $4.2 Million gift will also continue the support of the Society’s Laser Bees project, an asteroid deflection concept using a swarm of small spacecraft to emit laser bursts to vaporize portions of an asteroid’s surface to push the asteroid slowly out of harm’s way. Developed by scientists at the University of Strathclyde, laboratory tests are happening now in Scotland.

The Planetary Society will also use the newly donated funds to increase staff in crucial areas, including education and outreach, marketing, and development, which will help to grow membership and position the organization for continued expansion.

Bill Nye noted that the gift coincides with The Planetary Society’s strategic planning process. “The timing of this amazing gift is terrific, because our President Jim Bell just spearheaded a survey of our Members on where their Planetary Society should be heading. The additional funding enables us to think big and integrate our Members’ insights and recommendations.”

“This is a defining moment for The Planetary Society,” said Board Chair Daniel T. Geraci, “We now have the opportunity to make the kind of impactful decisions that will truly 'change the world'.”

MEDIA CONTACT: Diane Murphy (


About the Planetary Society

Celebrating 35 years, The Planetary Society has inspired millions of people to explore other worlds and seek other life. With the mission to empower the world's citizens to advance space science and exploration, its international membership makes the non-governmental Planetary Society the largest space interest group in the world. Carl Sagan, Bruce Murray and Louis Friedman founded the Planetary Society in 1980. Bill Nye, a longtime member of the Planetary Society's Board, serves as CEO.