Unistellar, SETI Institute & The Planetary Society collaborate to inspire 1 million girls to discover space during World Space Week

For Immediate Release
September 28, 2021

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

San Francisco, CA (September 28, 2021)In celebration of World Space Week, hosted October 4-10 annually, the New Astronomy pioneers at Unistellar are collaborating with the SETI Institute and The Planetary Society for an ambitious mission to get 1 million girls to discover space. The World Space Week 2021 theme, “Celebrating Women in Space,” honors the contributions and accomplishments of women in the space sector and sciences, giving the next generation the opportunity to be introduced to female role models from all over the world.

"Women remain a minority among the space and tech industries, but through outreach and education, these figures can change," said Whitney McChane, Vice President, Communications for Unistellar. "Among the girls we’ll reach during World Space Week are the world’s future asteroid hunters, Mars explorers, stellar astronomers and astrophysicists. Early exposure to the majesty of space can spark a passion in girls that lasts a lifetime."

"As a young girl around 8 years old, I was walking along a very dark beach in the Florida Keys with my dad - as he pointed out the constellations, I remember thinking that on a planet circling one of those stars there would be a young creature walking along their beach and seeing our Sun as a star in their sky," said Jill Tarter, Co-Founder of the SETI Institute. "Having a science-based view of all of us as Earthlings will foster the cooperation that will be needed to find solutions to the challenges that threaten our long future on this planet."

A survey completed by NASA shows women make up only about a third of its workforce and are only 16 percent of senior scientific employees. Meanwhile, data from the American Institute of Physics show that while women earn over 50 percent of all bachelor’s degrees, women earn only 21 percent of physics and 33 percent of astronomy bachelors’ degrees. 

"I have benefited from pioneering women before me, but women still fill far less than half of the roles in the space sector, in spite of the number of entering students in many fields nearly at gender parity," said Bethany Ehlmann, President of The Planetary Society. "One of the keys to solving this issue is to create an environment for young women (and men) that is supportive and enriching at every phase of their journey. I benefited from mentors who nurtured my curiosity, and today I am able to continue the cycle by mentoring young women in my classroom and science teams. I am able to be a role model to young girls who may look at my space exploration career and say, 'hey, I can do that.'"

"There are incredible women who made significant contributions to the space sector and with our WSW 2021 theme we want to celebrate their accomplishments. One of our main goals is to showcase these accomplishments and give young girls and students female role models. We’ve been having a year-long social media campaign, celebrating women from all regions of the world, from scientists to lawyers and I am confident that talking about women’s successes is crucial if we want to inspire the next generation to become more involved with the space sector," said Maruska Strah, Executive Director of the World Space Week Association. 

During World Space Week 2021, Unistellar, the SETI Institute and The Planetary Society are working together to help inspire a new generation of female space explorers. For those who wish to help a girl discover space from Oct. 4-10:

Join the discussion, share your experience and rally your community using #GirlsDiscoverSpace and #WSW2021.

To learn more, visit unistellar.com/world-space-week.

About Unistellar

Unistellar is the start-up behind the eVscope 2 and the eVscope eQuinox, the world’s most powerful and simple-to-operate digital telescopes that bring the wonders of the universe to life in seconds—even in light-polluted urban settings. Thanks to a partnership with the SETI Institute, these game-changing consumer telescopes allow users to become citizen scientists and contribute to cutting-edge research on exoplanet transits, asteroid occultations, comets, and much more.

Unistellar’s previous flagship telescope, named eVscope, received a CES Innovation Award in 2018 in the Tech for a Better World category and was nominated for a SXSW 2019 Innovation Award. More than 5,000 Unistellar digital telescopes are now operating in Europe, Japan, and North America, and their users are participating in an unprecedented observing experience.

About the SETI Institute

Founded in 1984, the SETI Institute is a non-profit, multidisciplinary research and education organization whose mission is to lead humanity’s quest to understand the origins and prevalence of life and intelligence in the universe and share that knowledge with the world. Our research encompasses the physical and biological sciences and leverages expertise in data analytics, machine learning and advanced signal detection technologies. The SETI Institute is a distinguished research partner for industry, academia and government agencies, including NASA and NSF.

About The Planetary Society

The Planetary Society has inspired millions of people to explore other worlds and seek other life. With the mission to empower the world's citizens to advance space science and exploration, its international membership makes the non-governmental Planetary Society the largest space interest group in the world. Carl Sagan, Bruce Murray and Louis Friedman founded The Planetary Society in 1980. Bill Nye, a longtime member of The Planetary Society's Board, serves as CEO.

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 www.planetary.org.