Status Report

All Planetary Society Members 2004 – what a year!

By SpaceRef Editor
December 29, 2004
Filed under ,

Dear Members,

2004 – what a year! Two triumphant landings on Mars,
giving us evidence that water once drenched the Red
Planet; spectacular images from Cassini on its tour of
Saturn’s rings and moons; and a new NASA vision, lauded
by many of the world’s other space-faring nations, to
one day see humans on Mars. We, The Planetary Society
and its Members around the globe, took part in all of it.

Together, we started last year off with a bang, with
our Wild About Mars Weekend to celebrate the Spirit
rover’s landing on Mars. We all cheered as one of the
first pictures sent back from the surface of the Red
Planet showed the MarsDial, a camera calibration target
provided by the rover imaging team, The Planetary Society
and other colleagues. The excitement continued as we
watched our Red Rover team of Student Astronauts
participating in the mission for months after the landing.

Even while Mars was dominating the headlines in 2004,
The Planetary Society was advancing the frontiers of
exploration in other directions. In June, we sponsored
a workshop in Beijing to investigate future means to
explore our own Moon; and in August, at Harvard University,
experts in the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence
gathered to consider new ways to advance that search,
including Space-Based SETI, an idea presented by Society
co-founder Bruce Murray.

We hope that 2005 will be even more exciting. Here are just
a few highlights we look forward to in the year to come:

In January, Huygens will plunge through a thick, smoggy
atmosphere to the surface of Saturn’s moon Titan to see
if ethane seas really do mark this strange, enshrouded world.
And close on Huygens’ heels, The Planetary Society and its
Members will make history with the launch of our own Cosmos 1.
This is the first space mission to be conducted by a private
membership organization and the first solar-sail-propelled
spacecraft to leave Earth.

In early July, the Deep Impact spacecraft will arrive at
comet 9P/Tempel 1 to deliver a special package: a 370-kilogram
(820-pound) copper impactor that will be set on a collision
course with the comet. That’s not all that will impact –
500,000 names, including those of all our Members, will be
aboard to become part of cosmic history.

And without doubt, as has happened every one of the 25 years
since Carl Sagan, Bruce Murray and I founded the Society,
hundreds of thousands will join our Members in a successful
campaign supporting a crucial fight in space exploration.
It could be to save a mission, take humans beyond low-Earth
orbit, or to encourage international cooperation in space.
The Planetary Society steps in wherever the public’s voice
is needed. And our voices, raised together, are heard.

Your support as a Member – will continue to go far in

ensuring that The Planetary Society stays at the heart of
exploration through education, advocacy, and opportunities
for direct public participation.

Thank you, and best wishes for a joyous close to 2004 and
a wonderful start to 2005.


Louis Friedman

Executive Director

P.S. Your generous support helps to fuel this exciting adventure.
To make a year-end gift go to:

SpaceRef staff editor.