The Planetary Society and its members actively work to create the future we want to see in exploration. Engaging citizen scientists through our projects and activities, we aim to foster a scientifically literate populace, one in which every citizen knows and appreciates other worlds as well as this one. We provide seed-funding to innovative technologies, we fund astronomers hunting for hazardous asteroids and planets orbiting other stars, we support optical searches for extraterrestrial life, and we pursue answers to our own scientific questions.
You have the ability to participate and support every one of our projects. Learn how below.
CubeSats have made low-cost space missions a reality for universities and research groups. However, these tiny satellites lack propulsion. LightSail will demonstrate the viability of solar sailing for CubeSats.
The Planetary Society recognizes the threat that asteroids and comets–known as Near-Earth Objects (NEOs)–represent. While an asteroid strike could have devastating effects, the good news is that an asteroid impact is the only natural disaster that is completely preventable.
At the core of our explorations is the quest to know if life exists beyond Earth. The Planetary Society is a leader in the search for life on other worlds, whether intelligent or microbial. Our active projects: SETI Optical Telescope - Looking for laser signals beamed across the vastness of space. SETI Radio Searches - Huge radio dishes sift through nature's random noise for beacons from other civilizations.
What do we do if an asteroid is found to be on a collision course with Earth? At this point, the answer is not clear, so The Planetary Society has partnered with researchers to discover ways to protect Earth when we one-day find a dangerous space rock.
NASA and other countries have studied large rovers designed to carry humans, medium-sized robotic rovers like those used now on Mars, and even a low-gravity "nano?rover," but there is a largely unstudied niche of microrovers, which we loosely define as rovers with masses of one to a few kilograms. Even less studied is how they might work with humans on the Moon, Mars, or other bodies.
The Planetary Society is an education outreach partner on Mars Climate Sounder and is proud to be a part of this next phase of Mars exploration. Mars Climate Sounder, one of Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter's six science instruments, is performing a detailed, systematic study of Mars' weather and climate.
Something strange was happening in the outer reaches of our solar system. The Pioneer 10 and 11 spacecraft were not where they were supposed to be. The mystery of the Pioneer Anomaly has been solved The recovery of Doppler and telemetry data and the entire effort in thermal analysis would not have happened without the Planetary Society.
The Planetary Society developed the two-phase LIFE – Living Interplanetary Flight Experiment – to investigate the transpermia hypothesis, the idea that a living organism might survive a journey through space to Earth inside a meteorite.