GLXP News: Moon Express Names Alan Stern as Chief Scientist

Dr. Alan Stern
Dr. Alan Stern

Mountain View, CA (July 20, 2011) – Moon Express, a Google Lunar X PRIZE contender, revealed today that internationally recognized planetary scientist Dr. Alan Stern will be the Chief Scientist and Mission Architect for the company. The announcement was made as lunar scientists from around the world gather at the NASA Ames Research Park for their annual Lunar Science Forum, convened by the NASA Lunar Science Institute.

Dr. Stern is the former NASA Associate Administrator for Science and is an outspoken advocate for commercial space who believes in the power of private enterprise to complement government efforts. While at NASA he presided over $4.5B of planetary science, astrophysics, heliophysics, and Earth science missions while, also serving as the Principle Investigator of the agency’s New Horizon’s mission to Pluto.

“I am thrilled to be working with the Moon Express team as Chief Scientist,” he said. “Moon Express has the business model, talent, and the resources to blaze a commercial trail to the Moon and revolutionize the way we do lunar science and exploration. The lunar future is bright.”

Named by Time Magazine as one of the world’s most influential people, Dr. Stern has pushed many boundaries of science with innovative experiments and mission initiatives, including booking 8 suborbital spaceflights on Virgin Galactic and XCOR spaceships for space research. As Chief Scientist of Moon Express, Dr. Stern is helping the company design lunar missions that will support the company’s commercial operations leading the company’s research into materials on the Moon that could have scientific and economic value for Earth and space exploration.

“We are honored to have a scientist of Alan Stern’s caliber working with us,” said Moon Express co-founder and CEO Dr. Robert (Bob) Richards. “Alan’s unique combination of optimism, deep experience, and no-nonsense style helps propel Moon Express forward while remaining focused on the achievable.”

About Moon Express

Selected by Forbes as one of the ’15 Names You Should Know’, Moon Express is a privately funded lunar transportation and data services company based at the NASA Ames Research Park in Silicon Valley.  Moon Express was founded by Naveen Jain, a philanthropist, entrepreneur and technology pioneer who founded Intelius and InfoSpace and serves as Chairman; Dr. Robert (Bob) Richards, a founder of International Space University, who serves as CEO; and Dr. Barney Pell, Chief Architect for Bing Local Search at Microsoft and former NASA manager, who serves as Vice Chairman and Chief Technology Officer. The Moon Express co-founders also work together as trustees of Singularity University.

Moon Express emerged quickly onto the stage last year when the company was selected by NASA for a lunar data services contract worth up to $10M. It was also one of only three U.S. companies to receive a $500K delivery order under NASA’s Innovative Lunar Demonstrations Data (ILDD) program.

Moon Express is also a leading contender in the $30M Google Lunar X PRIZE (GLXP) competition, which challenges privately funded teams to place a robot on the Moon’s surface that travels 500 meters and transmits high definition video, images and data back to Earth.

The Moon Express founders believe in the long term economic potential of the Moon to produce resources essential to Earth’s energy future.  Moon Express has captured the interest of the mining community and was featured in a recent issue of Resource World magazine: Robot Pioneers to Mine the Moon .

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