The 2013 Europlanet Prize for Public Engagement with Planetary Science has been awarded to Mr Jonathan (Jay) Tate for his outstanding efforts in furthering public understanding of Near-Earth Objects (NEOs) and the asteroid and comet impact hazard.
The Spaceguard Centre, founded by Tate in 2001, serves as a professional facility for astronomical research, a focus for public outreach and media activities relating to NEOs, as well as a unique educational centre. In the Autumn of 2012 the Spaceguard Centre was given formal recognition as the official UK National NEO Information Centre.
The Prize, which includes an award of 4000 Euros, was presented to Tate during the European Planetary Science Congress (EPSC) 2013 in London on Monday 9 September. The presentation was made by Jean-Pierre Lebreton, Project Scientist for the Huygens mission, which landed on Saturn’s moon Titan in 2005.
Thierry Fouchet, Europlanet Outreach Coordinator and Chair of the Prize Judging panel, said: “The Judges were impressed by the energy, efforts, time and enthusiasm Jay has devoted to promote the awareness of the general public to the immediate Earth space environment. In founding the Spaceguard Centre, he has created an important and valued source of information on the threats and hazards posed by the Near Earth Objects. He has addressed the issue in a sober, serious, science-based approach, when more alarmist messages were in circulation. His work has been a model of putting planetary sciences high on the political agenda and raising the profile of planetary sciences with policy-makers.”