Posted inPress Release

SETI Institute Joins Unistellar & The Planetary Society to Inspire Girls to Discover Space During World Space Week

Supporting the ambitious goal to get 1 million girls to discover space

Girl looking through the eVscope.

September 28, 2021, Mountain View, CA  – The SETI Institute is supporting a vital effort to help girls discover space during World Space Week, October 4-10, 2021. The 2021 theme for World Space Week is “Celebrating Women in Space,” and the SETI Institute is teaming up with Unistellar and The Planetary Society to help girls discover all the wonder and possibilities of space. This initiative supports one of the SETI Institute’s strategic goals of improving science literacy in general and focusing on girls and other underserved communities.

“As a young girl ~ 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 and SETI pioneer. “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.”

“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.”

Women looking through the eVscope

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. At the SETI Institute, 37% of all employees are women, while women account for 46% of its leadership team.

“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:

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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 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 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.

Contact Information:
Rebecca McDonald
Director of Communications
SETI Institute