The Planetary Society supports global planetary defense efforts with new round of grants to asteroid hunting community

For Immediate Release
June 26, 2023

Danielle Gunn
Email: [email protected]
Phone: +1-626-793-5100

Pasadena, CA (June 26, 2023) — The Planetary Society announced in an article today that it will award a total of $68,434 to eight recipients as part of its Shoemaker Near Earth Object (NEO) Grant program. The program, named after pioneering planetary geologist Gene Shoemaker, supports amateur astronomers worldwide in their endeavors to find, track, and characterize near-Earth asteroids.

Professional sky surveys cannot singlehandedly bear the responsibility of defending the Earth from potentially harmful asteroids. The amateur asteroid-hunting community significantly contributes to characterizing, tracking, and discovering near-Earth objects that could pose a threat to Earth.

In the 26-year history of the program, approximately $585,000 has been granted in 78 awards to astronomers in 23 countries on six continents. The latest Shoemaker grant winners exemplify the Planetary Society’s long-standing tradition of planetary defense programming, made possible by the generous donations from its members — a global community of space enthusiasts.

Read about the grant winners in the official update by Planetary Society Chief Scientist Bruce Betts.

Announcing the 2023 Shoemaker NEO grant winners

Meet the latest round of winners in The Planetary Society's Shoemaker Near-Earth Object (NEO) grant program, which funds astronomers around the world in their efforts to find, track, and characterize near-Earth asteroids.

Press Resources

Bruce Betts, chief scientist and Gene Shoemaker NEO Grants program lead, is available for interviews. Please arrange with Danielle Gunn, chief communications officer, at [email protected]



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Hunting for Dangerous Asteroids Bob Stephens from California tracks and characterizes dangerous near-Earth asteroids. The equipment needed for such a task doesn't last forever. With help from our members, asteroid hunters can upgrade their equipment to make sure we find asteroids before they find us.


A collection of images from current and past winners of the Shoemaker NEO grants.

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