| Strategic Plan



This strategic plan sets the direction for Blue Marble Space and will frame the work of the organization in the next five years. The plan was developed by the Board of Directors and Management, in collaboration with BMS initiative leaders, and approved by the Board of Directors on 12/14/2022. The Blue Marble Space strategic plan includes a definition, mission, core values, and six strategic goals.


We are a US-based international non-profit that promotes cooperative exploration of space, examines life as a planetary process, and enables a sustainable future on Earth. 


Our mission is to cultivate scientific innovation and entrepreneurship by engaging with lifelong learners. 

Core Values

We use our initiatives to:

Strategic Goals

To advance our mission, we have developed a set of goals that will shape our science, community, and partnerships. They are: 

I. Cultivate leadership within our community 

The community of BMSIS scientists represents a highly talented group of researchers, educators, and communicators who share a vision for a better future. Effective leadership within our community is essential for our initiatives to fulfill our mission. As our organization grows, so too does the demand for additional leaders who are willing to develop leadership skills in order to enable others within BMSIS, and our broader communities, to thrive.

To meet this goal, we will:

  1. Support BMSIS scientists to establish new Action Groups in order to enable researchers, educators, communicators, and others with aligned interests to strengthen their network within Blue Marble Space, build connections with relevant experts outside of Blue Marble Space, and develop collaborations that are mutually beneficial to everyone involved.
  2. Encourage Initiative and Action Group leaders to develop a “Roles and Responsibilities” document. (Blue Marble Space will provide a template.)
  3. Encourage young scientists and visiting scholars, under mentorship by BMSIS scientists, to participate in Action Groups and other Initiatives. 
  4. Offer leadership training to leaders of BMSIS Initiatives and Action Groups.

II. Foster deeper scientific collaborations among affiliates 

The expertise of BMSIS scientists spans a wide range of disciplines, all of which represent different approaches to understanding the origin, distribution, and future of life on Earth and elsewhere. As our community of scientists grows, it becomes increasingly difficult for everybody to be aware of the research and activities of others. 

To meet this goal, we will:

  1. Encourage BMSIS scientists, young scientists, and visiting scholars to join existing Action Groups, monthly team meetings, and the journal club.
  2. Promote the activities of the BMSIS community within the organization as well as externally, such as through the BMS Insider and social media
  3. Identify opportunities to regularly highlight the efforts of individual researchers to elevate their visibility among our community.

III. Increase and diversify funding for our science and initiatives

The majority of funding for Blue Marble Space comes from federal grants. The overhead rate on these grants provides support for management of the company and initiatives, which means that events like government shutdowns and fluctuations in grants can have a significant impact on company finances. Developing new funding opportunities would allow our organization to grow while also becoming more independent of federal funding.

To meet this goal, we will:

  1. Pursue funding opportunities with private foundations and public charities, including international funding sources and financial partnerships with other organizations.
  2. Encourage collaborative grant proposals among BMSIS scientists.
  3. Explore options for providing internal support for BMSIS scientists.
  4. Encourage Initiative leaders to identify a value proposition and target market. 
  5. Explore options for monetizing aspects of Blue Marble Space programs.
  6. Build our organizational capacity for development to support donor relations.

IV. Expand our reach

We want to ensure that participation in our community is genuinely open and accessible to everyone. Our decentralized organization already provides significant support for individuals within the BMSIS community to participate from locations all over the world, and nearly everyone is already accustomed to working in an online environment that accommodates different time zones and personal scheduling considerations. Nevertheless, a large fraction of the world’s population remains isolated from the internet, which creates a digital divide of people who are beyond the immediate reach of our online activities. Likewise, the unique histories and needs of economically disadvantaged communities creates challenges that may prevent interested individuals from participation in our organization. 

To meet this goal, we will:

  1. Develop new strategies for promoting and advertising the young scientist program and other educational programs that may arise to broader audiences.
  2. Understand the impact that emerging technologies will have on bridging the digital divide and identify opportunities for Blue Marble Space to connect with such newly-wired communities.
  3. Obtain support from sponsors to support the YSP and its staff.
  4. Develop new partnerships and collaborations with other organizations that have a focus on space exploration, Earth and space science, sustainability, and other efforts related to the company’s Mission and Vision.
  5. Seek to offer sponsorships when possible to the programs and activities of other organizations so that we can contribute to the global infrastructure of opportunities for all while amplifying our own name and brand.

V. Strengthen administrative support

Blue Marble Space relies on federal awards for most of its funding. Currently, the organization uses the 10% de minimis rate allowable by CFR 200.414(f). This percentage is no longer enough due to increased compliance requirements for managing larger and larger grants as well as managing day to day operations of our growing organization. Additional income is necessary to defray costs associated with managing and operating Blue Marble Space.

To meet this goal, we will:

  1. Develop the institutional knowledge to prepare a proposal for the Department of the Interior to raise our overhead rate, and re-negotiate that rate on a yearly basis.
  2. Develop program-specific proposals that target areas where indirect costs are currently being used.
  3. Develop a plan for the hiring, training, and management of additional support staff as the company grows.

VI. Increase awareness of our carbon footprint

Like any organization, Blue Marble Space contributes to climate change by being producers of carbon through the activities of our scientific community, especially air travel. We need to better understand the carbon footprint of our scientific community through quantitative analysis and communication regarding mitigation strategies.

To meet this goal, we will begin to:

  1. Provide tools for company travelers to compute carbon emissions based on travel, and inform travelers of their carbon footprint shortly after their travel (ideally with 45 days)
  2. Offer mitigation strategies to the traveler (at first), and review providers that offer carbon offset services.
  3. Perform a carbon footprint audit of all company activities (starting with individual projects) and benchmark these results against similar brick-and-mortar companies
  4. Develop plans for eventually direct offsetting of the company’s carbon use.