Art by Jasmine A. L’amoureux
Art by Jasmine A. L’amoureux
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Welcome to the future! We live in it, we breathe it, we ARE the future.
By now you were all probably hoping for flying cars and hoverboards. In a sense, we already have those things, just not developed enough to put on the shelves to release to the public. What else do you see? Well, I’m here to answer that question, as part of the Planetary Society (www.planetary.org)
It’s not common knowledge to know anything about the Society, or what we help NASA do.
I am here with my article and column, Intergalactic Space Garbage, to tell you!
Let’s begin with the basics before I give you an overview of what we have been doing for the past 10 years. Every 10 years the world’s top scientists and leading astronomers meet for something called The Decadal Survey! The last one was released in 2011 and helped us prioritize space exploration for the next 10 years.
This survey helps us get the proper funding from Congress to fund space exploration. But you never know just what we will get, as more recently, people have demanded that NASA do something about our most important global crisis: global warming.
The decadal survey also helps preserve whatever missions have been endorsed in the past. In the next survey, we will be primarily focusing on our brother and sister planets Mercury, Venus, Mars, and the Moon as well as some other small bodies and some exoplanets. The scientists representing these planets have been encouraged to ask three big questions about the planets they are focusing on and in turn, shall debate upon said questions and future missions.
Now, remember. NASA and the Society are two VERY separate entities that work closely together. Whereas NASA uses tax money and such to operate, we are very different. We operate with mostly donated funds! On our website, you will see the different levels of membership anyone can attain, at varying costs. I encourage anyone to donate because planetary science is very important and critical to our understanding of what happened and is happening on not only other planets but also ours. To understand ourselves and our home planet, we need to be able to understand what happens in space. Whatever happens in space, happens on Earth! Your donations will help fuel our next missions and projects! To think YOU could have that impact on the world and other planets and to make that much of a difference, is incredible. Everything we can do and are doing is all because of the donors!
One of the most fascinating things happening right now (and by far the coolest thing if you ask me) is that we will be launching two astronauts back into space (The Dragon Crew) on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket in the Crew Dragon space capsule. SpaceX is a company run by Elon Musk. His company has signed a $2.6 billion deal to fly six missions with NASA that was established back in 2014. I encourage everyone to tune in on Wednesday, May 27 at about 4:30 p.m.
If all goes according to plan, they will be launching at approximately 4:32 p.m. from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. They could be staying at the International Space Station for up to 119 days! This is HUGE because it is SPace-X’s first-ever crewed mission and orbital Spaceflight from Earth since 2011. They call the flight itself Demo-2. The point of the flight mission itself is to test the commercial crew ship’s performance with astronauts on-board. It is also to determine the impact of space on the human body for an extended period, as well as on other types of equipment we will be bringing to space and last but not least human habitational experiments for future exploration of the universe.
In the past year, the Society has done SO MANY cool things. There isn’t enough coverage on these things, and I would love to inform you. Here are just a few!:
The Hera Mission was funded! Hera is a European space movement to help us with asteroid deflection techniques. The Planetary Society asked for donations from the public and the ESA also helped us fund the mission!
LightSail 2! Now this one I was super excited about! LightSail will always hold a special place in my heart! This wonderful project won 2 awards and is super beneficial to us while studying anything about solar power! Powered by photons, it sails the stars. How ingenious! A solar-powered spacecraft. Super eco-friendly and by far the coolest thing I have ever seen in my life!
The ESRT center is open! Back in October, Society members from all over the globe met in the Netherlands at The European Space and Technology Centre to talk about LightSail 2 and the ESA’s involvement in the research of Exoplanets, funded by the Society members like myself! It’s always a pleasure to hold such a wonderful spot in our universe. Helping the PS explore our universe is never boring.
In the past 40 years, the Society has been working hard, day in and day out to learn more about our place in the stars and the impact we have on our universe. Every month they release a planetary report and every week podcasts. Every month, in turn, I will keep you updated on the many findings and research I obtain from my many resources to provide you with the best up to date happenings in Planetary Science! Join me, Bill Nye (CEO), and many other scientists, as I dump my Intergalactic Space Garbage on you, and many others! Informing the public is only half the battle. The other half is helping us make these things happen by becoming a member of our society.
Until next month, when I review the book Alien Oceans: The Search For Life In The Depths of Space, by Kevin Hand (JPL scientist). See you soon, fellow carbon-based entities!

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Lucianna Kyrie Lamouruex is an amateur astronomer from the town of Winsted, Connecticut. She is a mother, baker and artist who studies astrobiology in her spare time, and advocates heavily for the Planetary Society to educate the general public.