Bruce Betts Bio

Dr. Bruce Betts is a planetary scientist who loves teaching people about planets, space, and the night sky in fun and entertaining ways. He has lots of college degrees, lots of big dogs, and two sons. Read on to learn more about his background and where to find him on social media and the Internet.

Bruce Betts is a planetary scientist, science communicator and educator, and manager. He is the Chief Scientist and LightSail Program Manager for the world’s largest space interest group, The Planetary Society. He has a B.S. (Physics and Math) and an M.S. (Applied Physics, emphasis Astronomy) from Stanford and a Ph.D. (Planetary Science, minor in Geology) from Caltech. His research there and at the Planetary Science Institute focused on infrared studies of planetary surfaces. He managed planetary instrument development programs at NASA Headquarters.

At The Planetary Society, he heads the Science and Technology and the Education and Outreach programs. He has managed several flight hardware projects, and led additional science and outreach projects. He is the Program Manager for the Society’s largest project: the LightSail solar sail spacecraft. He regularly writes for the member magazine The Planetary Report and his blog on planetary.org. His popular twitter feed @RandomSpaceFact and Facebook page (Dr. Bruce Betts) provides easy night sky astronomy and random space facts. His Random Space Fact video series (planetary.org/rsf) provides space facts mixed with humor and graphics. He also hosts the "What's Up?" feature on the weekly Planetary Radio (planetary.org/radio) show (100+ stations, XM/Sirius, podcast). He has been a guest expert on History Channel’s The Universe, is a frequent contributor to Professional Pilot magazine, and has appeared frequently in TV, print, web media, and public lectures. Dr. Betts is an Adjunct Professor with California State University Dominguez Hills and his Introduction to Astronomy and Planetary Science class, featuring lots of pretty space pictures, is available free online (planetary.org/bettsclass). He is an Alumnus Senior Scientist with Planetary Science Institute. His website is randomspacefact.com