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Celebrate Carl Sagan Day with The Planetary Society

A Tribute to Carl Sagan, Friday, November 9th

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Note: The above video was created from the audio of the live event with pictures taken by Liam Kennedy. Due to technical issues, actual video of the event was not captured.


Kip Thorne
Feynman Professor of Theoretical Physics, Emeritus, Caltech

Dr. Thorne is a pioneer of theoretical physics, pursuing research in gravitational waves, black holes, and worm holes. He was a longtime friend of Carl, contributing the concept of wormholes used as transportation in Contact.

Kip Thorne

Louis Friedman
co-Founder and Emeritus Executive Director, The Planetary Society

Dr. Friedman, along with Bruce Murray and Carl Sagan, founded the Planetary Society and served as its Executive Director for over 25 years. Previously, he spent over 10 years at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and five at AVCO Space Systems Division.

Louis Friedman

Lynda Obst
Executive Producer, Contact

Lynda Obst is one of the most prolific female producers in the film industry. Her hit films including Flashdance, The Fisher King, Sleepless In Seattle, One Fine Day, Contact, and Hope Floats, among others.

Louis Friedman

Chas Beichman
Executive Director of the NASA Exoplanet Science Institute (NExScI) at Caltech

For the past 10 years Dr. Beichman has been closely associated with and helped to formulate NASA’s program to search for planets around other stars and has been deeply involved in the search for evidence of planetary systems beyond our own. He is currently the executive director of the NASA Exoplanet Science Institute, which awards the Carl Sagan Research Fellowship.

Louis Friedman

Melissa Rice
NASA Postdoctoral Fellow, Caltech; MSL Science Team Collaborator

Dr. Rice earned a PhD at Cornell University's Department of Astronomy, the longtime academic home of Carl Sagan. Sagan was a strong influence on her decision to pursue science as a career, particularly the novel, Contact. She currently works on the MSL Curiosity mission and the MER Opportunity missions.

Dr. Melissa Rice

Wladimir Lyra
Carl Sagan Fellow, JPL

Dr. Lyra grew up in Rio de Janiero and received his PhD from Uppsala University in Sweden. After working at the Natural History Museum in New York City, he was granted a Carl Sagan Fellowship to study the evolution of proto-planetary disks at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Wladimir Lyra

Sarah Milkovich
MRO HiRISE investigation scientist and science operations systems engineer for MSL, JPL

Dr. Milkovich is a planetary geologist by training, and has worked on the science operations teams for many spacecraft, including Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, Mars Science Laboratory, Cassini, and Mars Phoenix. She grew up just a few miles away from Carl Sagan's house.

Sarah Milkovich

Mat Kaplan

He was just 17 when he got his first job in broadcasting, yet it wasn't until Planetary Radio, the Society's weekly broadcast and podcast series, that he was able to combine his love of space exploration with the fun and excitement of being on the air. A Planetary Society staff member for twelve years, Mat is also who we look to when an event calls for audiovisual support or a live webcast. The longtime Long Beach, California resident has two adult daughters raised to be citizens of the solar system.

Mat Kaplan
Bill Nye and people
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