Space scientist says shoot for the stars

Ivy Nguyen, Staff Writer

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Many kids have fantastical dreams. “I want to go to space!” “I want to be the ruler of the world!”

In today’s technologically advanced world, such dreams may not be so fantastical anymore — not the former, at least.

Planet Labs co-founder and CTO Chris Boshuizen has been actualizing his lifelong dream of seeing space by building satellites and using their space-based imaging technology to better the world. Planet Labs uses its Dove satellites to take a terabyte’s worth of photos of the world each day.

A satellite from Chris Boshuizen's company, Planet Labs, captures a photo of small villages in China's vast Northeastern Plain, a region renowned for its agriculture.

Chris Boshuizen
A satellite from Chris Boshuizen’s company, Planet Labs, captures a photo of small villages in China’s vast Northeastern Plain, a region renowned for its agriculture.

The images are used to help predict natural disasters, track deforestation, and aid in other environmental issues as well as being a tool for humanitarian and business applications. A gallery of these photos is available to the public, and Planet Labs plans to make a public mapping tool of the world within the next few years.

Senior Seena Sebt said, “This science lecture was very informative. The idea of going into space seems unreachable for many, but the speaker proved this misconception wrong. With enough hard work and resources, you can do it. That message really impacted me and let me know that I can follow my dreams, even if others think it’s impossible or unrealistic.”

During the lecture, Boshuizen discussed how his love for science brought him from Australia, to NASA’s Ames Research Center in Mountain View, and now to Planet Labs in San Francisco.

Junior Nour Zabaneh said, “The lecture was inspiring because the speaker never gave up on his dream of going into space. Now he has over a hundred satellites in space, and he’s able to help improve the world. He taught me a lot about launches into space and how rovers work, but he also gave us the advice that if we follow our passions, we can do what we love and help the world.”

Boshuizen closed the lecture with an inspirational piece of advice: “I challenge you to start your own company and do things like build rockets and follow your passions.”
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