Space Forum October 19: New Horizons with Alan Stern

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The National Space Society invites you to the next Space Forum

Thursday, October 19, 2023, 9:00 pm to 10:15 pm EST

Chasing New Horizons:
A Conversation with Dr. Alan Stern

Dr. Alan Stern

Dr. Alan Stern
Planetary Scientist and Principal Investigator
New Horizons Program

Special Bonus: NSS has secured four autographed copies of Dr. Stern’s book, “Chasing New Horizons: Inside the EPIC First Mission to Pluto” which will be given away as virtual door prizes.

After almost 10 years and more than 3 billion miles traveled, the New Horizons spacecraft passed within 7800 miles of Pluto’s surface on July 14, 2015. The NASA New Horizons spacecraft was designed to explore Pluto and its moon, Charon, as well as other objects in the Kuiper Belt, a region of the solar system beyond Neptune. Led by Planetary Scientist and Principal Investigator Dr. Alan Stern, the New Horizons mission objectives were to gather data about Pluto, its five known moons, and study the region of the solar system where they reside.

Join this space forum to hear from Dr. Stern as he discusses the many starts and stops to get the program approved by NASA, the spacecraft development and ultimately the mission itself and the results. The New Horizons mission has been considered a remarkable success, shedding light on the previously mysterious Pluto and expanding our knowledge of the outer reaches of the solar system. Still operating today, New Horizon’s received, a mission extension to explore additional Kuiper belt objects (KBOs) and is returning new knowledge and extraordinary science. But a recent decision by NASA to cut New Horizon’s funding, that was just rescinded, has focused new attention on the program.

The conversation with Dr. Stern will touch on this aspect and also cover the successful NSS effort to persuade NASA to restore funding. NSS Executive Vice President Hoyt Davidson, who led the NSS petition effort will join the discussion and share the status and what comes next.

Join this space forum to get a first-hand account from Dr. Stern and that will take you behind the scenes  of one of the most successful deep-space robotic missions in NASA’s history.

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Dr. Alan Stern is an aerospace executive and planetary scientist with experience on 29 space mission teams, 14 of which he played a principal investigator role. Among those, he is the leader of NASA’s New Horizons, the first mission to explore Pluto and the Kuiper Belt—making the farthest exploration of worlds in history. In 2007 and 2008 he directed NASA’s entire $6B science program from Washington, DC. Dr. Stern currently serves as an executive in both the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) a large US R&D house, and in World View, a near-space ballooning company. He is a former board chair of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation and KinetX. He is a current board member of Voyager Space Holdings.

Dr. Stern is a member of the US National Science Board, has twice been named to the Time-100, and has published over 500 peer reviewed scientific papers. He is an experienced commercial pilot and has also conducted numerous research missions from NASA F-18s and other high-performance USAF, NASA, and commercial jet aircraft. As the principal investigator of a SwRI commercial suborbital research project, he expects to fly his first suborbital research space mission by 2024. In 2020, NASA selected him to fly as a crewmember aboard a second Virgin Galactic suborbital space mission, also in the near future. In July 2022 he dove to explore the RMS Titanic in a submersible.

Register today to reserve your seat and ask your questions. Use the link below.

Register no later than October 19 at 8 pm EST

Past NSS Space Forums and Town Halls may be viewed here.


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Contributors to the NSS Blog are unpaid volunteers. Unless specifically labeled an NSS position or press release, all blog posts represent the views of the author and not of NSS, even if written by an NSS officer.

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