Planetary Society Awards Two Science Innovators at New York Event

For Immediate Release
October 17, 2007

Mat Kaplan
Email: [email protected]
Phone: +1-626-793-5100

At an event on October 19 in New York City that tackles the question of “Planetary Citizenship in the Next Space Age,” The Planetary Society will present awards to two individuals who do an outstanding job of bringing the latest scientific discoveries to the public.

The Cosmos Award for Outstanding Public Presentation of Science will go to Paula S. Apsell, Senior Executive producer of the Emmy Award-winning series NOVA and NOVA scienceNOW. Michael C. Malin, President and Chief Scientist of Malin Space Science Systems, Inc, will receive the Thomas O. Paine Award for the Advancement of Human Exploration of Mars. Read more here.

“Paula and Mike help excite the public about the adventure and importance of scientific exploration – Mike with extraordinary images and great discoveries on Mars and Paula with decades of NOVA programs that have raised the bar for science documentaries,” said Louis Friedman, Executive Director of The Planetary Society.

Neil deGrasse Tyson and Bill Nye the Science Guy, President and Vice President respectively of The Planetary Society, will serve as masters of ceremonies for the event. They will discuss some of the scientific and political issues facing today’s planetary citizens and how our world leaders are meeting those challenges.

The Cosmos Award for Outstanding Public Presentation of Science is named after the landmark television series created by Planetary Society co-founder Carl Sagan, who fueled the imagination of millions of viewers around the world. To honor the innovators who follow in that tradition of presenting science and scientists in an accurate, yet entertaining and enthralling way, the Society created the Cosmos Award.

This year’s recipient, Paula Apsell, joined WGBH’s NOVA in 1975 and has helped guide the program to its position as America's most popular science series. During her tenure, she has directed the series’ diversification into other media, including its online presence on the PBS website as well as on iTunes and YouTube. She is also Director of the WGBH Science Unit at WGBH Boston.

The TV newsmagazine NOVA scienceNOW was launched two years ago. Other recent signature NOVA and Science Unit productions include The Elegant Universe, Origins, Einstein’s Big Idea, Forgotten Genius and the large format feature, Shackleton’s Antarctic Adventure.

The Thomas O. Paine Award for the Advancement of Human Exploration of Mars is named for Tom Paine, a member of The Planetary Society’s Board of Directors for many years and NASA Administrator at the time of the Apollo 11 Moon landing. The Award recognizes the group or individual who has done the most to advance the eventual human exploration of Mars.

In the past 10 years, millions of people around the Earth have been taken on a vicarious journey to the Red Planet by Mike Malin, this year’s recipient of the Paine Award. Not only was he the Principal Investigator on the Mars Orbiter Camera on Mars Global Surveyor (MGS), but his company also built the system that returned thousands of remarkable images. Among the most exciting discoveries from that treasure trove of data was photographic evidence that suggested water has recently flowed on the surface of Mars.

In addition to MGS, Malin has been involved with several other missions to Mars, including the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, currently surveying the planet. He is also involved with the Phoenix Mission, which will land on Mars in May 2008.

Planetary Citizenship in the Next Space Age will be held on Friday, October 19, 2007 at the New York Academy of Sciences, 7 World Trade Center, in New York City, NY. Tickets are $125 per person for both the awards celebration and a reception which follows. Tickets may still be ordered by phone at 626-793-5100 or on-line.

We are pleased to thank our sponsors: California Space Authority, EWI (Edison Welding Institute), OnOrbit, Southwest Airlines, Strategic Space Systems, and t/Space.

About The Planetary Society

With a global community of more than 2 million space enthusiasts, The Planetary Society is the world’s largest and most influential space advocacy organization. Founded in 1980 by Carl Sagan, Bruce Murray, and Louis Friedman and today led by CEO Bill Nye, we empower the public to take a meaningful role in advancing space exploration through advocacy, education outreach, scientific innovation, and global collaboration. Together with our members and supporters, we’re on a mission to explore worlds, find life off Earth, and protect our planet from dangerous asteroids. To learn more, visit