OUR HISTORY

30+ Years Fostering Research, Exploration and Education

The Planetary Studies Foundation (PSF) is an Illinois not-for-profit organization whose goal is to foster scientific literacy and to encourage interest in the sciences. Established in 1989, PSF has grown to be a multi-faceted organization dealing with meteorite research and recovery, polar exploration, and science education. In the past twenty plus years, PSF has become internationally recognized for its contributions, thanks to the efforts of many of our officers and members. PSF acquired a Starlab Portable Planetarium in 1993 and since then has provided basic planetarium astronomy shows to over 25,000 visitors. Our volunteers have manned the large telescopes of the Karl G. Henize Observatory at Harper College for its 10 years of operation, bringing a close-up view of the heavens to over 20,000 visitors. Our speakers and members have given countless talks at schools, community centers, conventions and colloquia, bringing a better understanding and appreciation of the universe. We have also extensively partnered with the Community Consolidated School District 15, the second largest K-12 school district in Illinois, on their Space Shuttle 15 space education program and on the Owen K. Garriott Discovery Learning Center.

Solar Eclipse Study Expeditions

PSF has sponsored and led several solar eclipse study expeditions, including to Mexico in 1991, locally in Illinois in 1994, and Aruba/Curacao Caribbean eclipse cruise in 1998, and to Turkey in 2000.

 

Meteorite Collections

Meteorite study has been a cornerstone of our scientific inquiry. On Christmas Day 1995, Mrs. Violetta DuPont gifted the James M. DuPont Meteorite Collection, then the world's largest private collection, to the Planetary Studies Foundation for curating, scientific research, and for public education about the significance of meteorite science. PSF has displayed parts of the collection at Harper College, at the Elgin U-46 School District Planetarium, at the Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary Art, and to over one million visitors in a 2-year showing at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center. Since 1995, our meteorite specialists have led or sponsored international field teams to create a separate Planetary Studies Foundation collection that now contains over 1500 distinct meteorites making it one of the world's largest public collections! PSF, with the help of several research partnerships, has significantly extended its global recognition in the area of meteorite studies. The entire DuPont collection is now located at the Yale Peabody Museum in New Haven, Connecticut. The Planetary Studies Foundation collection is still growing and available for research. In the future, the PSF collection will join the DuPont meteorites at the Yale Peabody Museum, where they will be available for study for decades to come. Click here to learn more about the collection.

Antarctica Expeditions

PSF conducted three successful meteorite expeditions to Antarctica in 1998, 2000 and 2002. On Antarctica 2000, we provided support for a NASA researcher, Richard Hoover, to extend his research into extremophile life forms, which may hold the key for finding life forms on other planets. Astronauts Owen Garriott and Jim Lovell also participated in the 2000 Antarctica Expedition to search for meteorites in the Thiel Mountains.

Member Contributions Make a Difference

PSF is made possible by the generous contributions of loyal supporters and members. Our member base includes over 250 members and is made up of astronauts, scientists, educators, and members of the community. If you would like to find out more information about becoming a member, visit our Membership page.

Calendar of Historical Milestones

Please visit our Milestones page to see a list of our major accomplishments in the last thirty years.

PSF FOUNDERS
Mary J. Becker
David L. Lauerman
Raymond Moehrlin, D.A.
Meyer Rudoff
Paul P. Sipiera, Ph.D.

JIM DuPONT COLLECTION

At the time of his death in 1991, Jim Dupont owned the world’s largest private collection of meteorites. When there were only 3,000 recognized meteorites, Jim had over 1,000 of them in his collection and he generously made specimens available to researchers around the world. In 1995, his widow Violetta donated his entire collection to PSF. To properly protect and preserve his collection PSF donated it to the Yale Peabody Museum in New Haven, CT guaranteeing Jim DuPont’s legacy to meteorite studies.

Planetary Studies Foundation

10 Winterwood Lane, Unit B

Galena, IL 61036 

(815) 858-2014

© 2021 by Planetary Studies Foundation

1992 PSF Fundraising Dinner

From left: Former Elk Grove Village trustee Jim Petri, Apollo 12 Astronaut Alan Bean, and Dr. Paul Sipiera. Background: Alan Bean painting on loan for the event from Mr. and Mrs. Charles Allen.