for Planetary Defense

B612 Foundation is thrilled to announce that the first Schweickart Prize will be awarded to Joe DeMartini, an astronomy Ph.D. at the University of Maryland (UMD), for his outstanding twilight observing campaign proposal. The prestigious prize will be presented by Apollo 9 astronaut Rusty Schweickart at a special ceremony at the Chabot Space & Science Center in Oakland, California.

The Schweickart Prize Selection Committee would also like to congratulate and acknowledge the other 2024 Finalists:

Michael Frühauf, Technical University of Munich, School of Engineering and Design
Meerkat Asteroid Guard Automated Interface Enhancements and Advanced Analysis of Current Planetary Defense Capabilities

Rahil Makadia, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Astrodynamics and Planetary Exploration Group
Permanent NEO Deflection

Sean Stokes, The State University of New York at Buffalo, Aerospace Engineering CRASH Laboratory
Investigation of Kinetic Impactor Interception Effectiveness for Asteroid Deflection & Disruption Events Using High-Fidelity Numerical Simulation

Founded in 2023, the Schweickart Prize was established with the goal of enhancing our capability to protect life on Earth from the potentially devastating consequences of an asteroid impact — planetary defense. 

The prize recognizes graduate students for their innovative ideas and potential leadership in the advancement of planetary defense-related fields including asteroid impact prediction, impact mitigation, mitigation law and policy development, impact economics, and planetary defense public education and communication.

Awarded annually on International Asteroid Day as observed on June 30th, the Schweickart Prize winner will receive a prestigious museum-quality award, with an authenticated meteorite, symbolizing the existential nature of the award's purpose. In addition to the physical award, the prize winner will be granted a cash prize of $10,000 USD. Their winning proposal will be given global exposure through a press campaign, ensuring widespread acknowledgment of their innovative ideas.

Credit: Christopher Che

The Schweickart Prize commemorates the illustrious career and public leadership of Rusty Schweickart, Apollo 9 astronaut and co-founder of B612 Foundation.

Rusty has made significant contributions to space exploration and planetary defense over his 60-year career in astronautics, government service, and advocacy. His involvement has been instrumental in advancing spaceflight capabilities and raising awareness about the potential threats posed by near-Earth objects (NEOs).

Learn more about Rusty Schweickart.