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Planetary Society Dedicates Pasadena Headquarters, CEO Bill Nye Focuses on a Mission to Mars

Published on Saturday, October 24, 2015 | 5:36 pm


“We want to have humans orbiting Mars in 2033,” said Bill Nye, American science educator popularly known as ‘Bill Nye the Science Guy.’ Nye is CEO of The Planetary Society and Saturday morning at the dedication of their new headquarters in Pasadena Nye spoke about “getting humans in orbit around Mars.”

Nye then joked about the society’s informal acronym, WNC: “We’re not crazy.”

According to Nye, this mission to put people on Mars would be possible without an increase in the NASA budget, except inflation. “The Planetary Society convened a meeting of about 70 people around the world, the world’s foremost authority on the exploration of space,” said Nye. Together these people “analyzed an architecture” for this mission.

“There are a lot of good orbits, but 2033 is an especially favorable one. We have technologies that are already being developed,” said Nye.

Many came out for the dedication of the Planetary Society’s new headquarters, which was previously a bank branch.

Nye said that the society’s search for a facility was focused in Pasadena because of the proximity to the Jet Propulsion Lab and the several small businesses in the area involved in space.

“For those who have been members for a long time, I feel [the facility] finally has that ‘this is a space Enterprise look and feel.'” He added, “we’ve got glass, and metal, and mid-century style futuristic bridge of the Enterprise furniture.”

President of the Planetary Society and also a planetary scientist Jim Bell remembered his days as a high school student in 1980.

“Imagine a world with no internet, a world with only three networks on television …)there was no way to connect to the rest of the world like we have today.” In contrast, today, “we have all the tools of the internet and social media, and all the connections that we make, and our staff here do a spectacular job of bringing the rest of the world into this great, great society,” said Bell.

Later Saturday at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium, the Planetary Society will be celebrating their 35th anniversary, featuring Andy Weir, author of the book “The Martian” (blockbuster film in theaters now); actors from Star Trek, including Nichelle Nichols, Robert Picardo, and Jeri Ryan; NASA Deputy Administrator, Dr. Dava Newman; NASA scientist Amy Mainzer; and Planetary Society personalities Emily Lakdawalla, Jim Bell, Bruce Betts, Mat Kaplan, Casey Dreier, and Jennifer Vaughn.

For more information on the Planetary Society and how to become a member, please visit their website at

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