It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration... than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known.
-Carl Sagan, Pale Blue Dot, 1994
As CEO of The Planetary Society, I would like to share information about how the Society is responding to the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) around the world. Our response focuses on two important priorities:
- the health and safety of our staff, volunteers, and members, and supporters around the world; and
- continuing to advance our mission to empower the world’s citizens to advance space science and exploration.
In making decisions about how the Society’s programs and activities proceed, we are above all else guided by the advice of medical and public health professionals.
Advancing Our Mission
Our efforts to inspire people around the world with the passion, beauty, and joy—the PB&J—of space exploration are more important than ever. Space exploration is an inherently optimistic enterprise that unites science with adventure and promises a better future for all humankind. That’s a welcome message of hope for everyone right now.
While you are spending some unexpected time at home, why not check these out and share them with family and friends:
- Our awesome podcast, Planetary Radio, hosted by the inimitable Mat Kaplan
- Some stellar beauty in the Bruce Murray Space Image Library
- Or maybe some moving pictures on our very own Planetary TV
- If leisurely reading is more your style, spend some time with our flagship magazine, The Planetary Report, or perhaps explore our website to expand your space knowledge. perusing our blogs by space nerds like Emily Lakdawalla, Bruce Betts, Jason Davis, Casey Dreier, Mat Kaplan, and me!
And once you’re done with all of that, be sure to see what’s up with our LightSail 2 solar sailing mission.
Going forward, we will continue to provide you, our members and supporters, with the tools to share the PB&J with others through our weekly e-newsletter, The Downlink.
And if you are looking for a real space party, you should check out the Yuri’s Night 2020 Global Webcast coming up on April 11.
Health and Safety
Recognizing that the pandemic appeared to be accelerating and our responsibility to help limit its spread, our staff leadership team began planning our workplace changes three weeks ago. As a result, we began telecommuting on March 9, and only essential staff are continuing to work in our Pasadena headquarters. Those in the office are practicing social distancing as well as adhering to stringent hygiene.
Effective last week, all Planetary Society public events, including events involving our volunteers, have been canceled or postponed. Likewise, all business travel by staff, volunteers, or board members has been suspended.
Powering Our Mission
It also bears mention that, to continue our work during this time of crisis, we will also need to rely on generous members and supporters like you to support our efforts financially. If you are in a position to be able to provide support during this time, we will be deeply appreciative.
Together, we are going to get through this global crisis. Our collective actions to inhibit the spread of COVID-19 will slow the progress of the disease and save lives. To borrow some words from one of our founders, Carl Sagan, this unprecedented challenge “underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another.” Please take precautions to keep yourself, your family, and community safe.
Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us.
Bill Nye, CEO