The Planetary Report

December Solstice 2021

From Our Member Magazine

Your impact: December solstice 2021

Bill Nye with LightSail at FUTURES
Bill Nye with LightSail at FUTURES Planetary Society CEO Bill Nye poses with the LightSail display at the Smithsonian Institution's FUTURES exhibition in November 2021.Image: The Planetary Society

LightSail 2 goes above and beyond

Our crowdfunded solar sailing spacecraft has been in orbit for more than two years now, and it’s doing more than what was ever thought possible. LightSail 2 continues to expand our understanding of solar sailing, with new science and engineering goals set for its extended mission. It’s also informing new solar sailing missions, starting with NASA’s upcoming NEA Scout. As if that wasn’t enough, LightSail 2 continues to inspire the public to dream bigger about what’s possible when people work together. The Smithsonian’s FUTURES exhibition, which opened this November, showcases the science of solar sailing and tells the story of how tens of thousands of people (you!) came together to make this groundbreaking mission happen. We’re all looking forward to seeing what LightSail 2 will accomplish next thanks to your ongoing support as a member — this year, you donated more than $150,000 to support the extended mission!

Celebrating space around the world

October 2021 was a big month for celebrating space, and we were proud to collaborate internationally to make the most of it. For International Observe the Moon Night on October 16, we connected our members and audiences around the world with events happening in their area and online to celebrate our celestial companion and the inspiring work being done to understand it. For World Space Week (October 4-10), we helped promote this year’s official theme, Celebrating Women in Space, by partnering with the World Space Week Association, the SETI Institute and Unistellar to inspire a passion for space in girls around the world.

Connecting with leaders in space

This year, The Planetary Society was invited to meet privately with the leaders of two national space agencies to deepen the impact we have on space science and exploration. NASA administrator Bill Nelson met with our CEO, Bill Nye, and our Chief of Washington Operations, Brendan Curry, to explore new ways for the Society to support NASA’s work. Canadian Space Agency President Lisa Campbell met with our Canadian Space Policy Adviser, Kate Howells, and other Society leadership to extend her appreciation for our advocacy work in Canada and to set the stage for more collaboration to come. We are honored to connect directly with these leaders, and we are excited to create new opportunities for you to make an impact on the future of space.

The Planetary Society receives a major grant

The great work that your membership supports was recognized this year by Blue Origin’s nonprofit foundation, Club for the Future, which selected The Planetary Society as one of 19 organizations to receive a $1 million grant. These funds don’t come with any requirements other than to support our energetic strategic plan, Space for Everyone, as we continue to increase public involvement in advancing planetary exploration, searching for life beyond Earth and defending Earth from dangerous asteroids and comets. As a Planetary Society member, you can be proud of the recognition we continue to receive as one of the world’s leading space organizations. We’re looking forward to all we can accomplish together with the support of this grant.

Exploration Changes Everything

Keep space science going strong. Take action for space and make your voice heard by telling elected officials to make space a priority.

Take Action

The Planetary Report • December Solstice

View Table of Contents

Help advance space science and exploration! Become a member of The Planetary Society and you'll receive the full PDF and print versions of The Planetary Report.