About the Schweickart Prize

The Schweickart Prize encapsulates Rusty Schweickart's belief in the significance of life as an evolutionary product of the universe. It recognizes our collective responsibility to embrace this concept and actively contribute to the evolutionary future of life. As humanity approaches the metaphorical moment of cosmic birth, the prize recognizes individuals who dedicate their research to ensuring the survival of humanity from Asteroid impacts and a successful transition of humans from Earth into the broader cosmos.

In 2006 the B612 Foundation brought the issue of planetary defense to the attention of world leaders through the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space via the Association of Space Explorers. Planetary defense, as it relates to this specific threat, is an excellent example of an effort necessitating international collective action in successfully addressing existential challenges. The prize will encourage meaningful research, collaboration, and public education on such challenges. 

Ultimately, the success in mitigating the existential threat to the cosmic birth of humanity depends not solely on technological advancements but also on social and geopolitical factors. The Schweickart Prize underscores the significance of the geopolitical dimension as a key determinant of humanity's ability to "eliminate" this existential threat and embrace our place in the community of cosmic life. These underlying concepts form the guiding principles for the annual awarding of the Schweickart Prize.

Learn more about Rusty’s belief about humanity’s need for a successful transition of humans from Earth into the broader cosmos here.

About the Awardees

The Schweickart Prize is awarded annually to an exceptional individual pursuing activities, whether technical or non-technical, related to planetary defense. Undergraduate and graduate students and early career professionals are eligible. The prize aims to recognize and stimulate their contributions to advancing planetary defense. The recipient's work should represent notable progress in one or more critical areas of planetary defense, such as threat discovery and mitigation strategies, civil protection, public education, or the promotion of responsible geopolitical decisions and actions.

Examples of desirable accomplishments include:

  • Facilitating international cooperation in planetary defense activities and decision-making
  • Addressing critical legal issues in planetary defense
  • Stimulating student engagement in the diverse challenges of planetary defense
  • Validating elements of credible near-Earth object (NEO) deflection
  • Establishing effective public credibility in NEO impact prediction and mitigation expertise
  • Developing visual tools and techniques that better enable the general public to understand planetary defense risks
  • Exploring long-range concepts to minimize the incidence of NEO impacts through innovative approaches, e.g. leveraging sequential inner planetary gravitational passes

The Schweickart Prize winner, selected each year, 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 exceptional work and research will be given global exposure through a press campaign, ensuring widespread acknowledgment of their achievements.

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