The Planetary Society Celebrates Space Science Finding: Haumea’s Rings

Non-Profit Space Organization’s Shoemaker Near Earth Object Grants Recipients Contributed

Press Statement
October 11, 2017

Erin Greeson
Phone: +1-626-793-5100

Pasadena, CA (October 11, 2017) -- In response to new findings pertaining to distant dwarf planet Haumea, announced today in Nature, The Planetary Society issued the following press statement:

“Haumea, with its rapid spin and oblong shape, was already one of the most unusual objects known in our solar system. Now, thanks to this team's observations, Haumea becomes even more intriguing as the first object beyond Neptune known to have rings. The Planetary Society's Shoemaker Near Earth Object Grants are awarded to enhance observations of potentially dangerous asteroids, but the awards often pay dividends in other observational areas. In the case of Haumea, two Shoemaker award winners used equipment facilitated by their grant to obtain observations of Haumea as part of the large group effort to observe the occultation. We congratulate the entire team of scientists behind this discovery and join the global space community in celebrating their results.”

— Dr. Bruce Betts, director of science and technology

The Planetary Society began the Gene Shoemaker NEO grant program in 1997. It was named for pioneering planetary geologist Gene Shoemaker, whose lifetime of discoveries has significantly helped scientists to understand the process by which asteroids impact planets and the nature of the NEO population. Funding for the Shoemaker NEO awards is provided through generous contributions of The Planetary Society’s members and supporters and, to date, more than $323,000 has been awarded. In addition to its Shoemaker grant program, The Planetary Society works to engage and inform the global community in planetary defense topics.

Note: Header image of Haumea with rings is an artist's rendering. Image credit: IAA-CSIC/UHU

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