Alan Stern — Credit: Southwest Research Institute

Stern is the Principal Investigator for the New Horizons Mission and a Citizen Astronaut

Alan’s … work embodies the spirit of the NSS—to strive to understand the intricacies of the solar system to better harness it’s rich resources for the benefit of everyone on our planet.”

— Dale Skran, NSS COO/SVP

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FLORIDA, USA, April 3, 2024 / — The National Space Society is pleased to announce that planetary scientist Dr. Alan Stern will speak at the society’s 2024 International Space Development Conference® (ISDC®).

Stern is best known for his work as the Principal Investigator on the New Horizons mission to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt, which is still underway, scouting for its next objective in the outer solar system. He also has key roles in the upcoming Europa Clipper mission to Jupiter’s icy moon, the Rosetta mission to orbit a comet, and the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, currently orbiting the Moon. Stern has also been a guest observer on numerous NASA satellite observatories, including the International Ultraviolet Explorer, the Hubble Space Telescope, the International Infrared Observer, and the Extreme Ultraviolet Observer.

“The NSS is pleased to have Dr. Stern attending our annual conference. He has been a pioneer in the exploration of the outer solar system via a variety of NASA robotic missions, most notably New Horizons. Alan is himself a citizen astronaut and explorer, and his work embodies the spirit of the NSS—to strive to understand the intricacies of the solar system to better harness it’s rich resources for the benefit of everyone on our planet.”

Stern holds a BS in physics and astronomy and an MS in both aerospace engineering and planetary atmospheres from the University of Texas at Austin. He earned a doctorate in astrophysics and planetary science from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Stern has worked for decades with the Southwest Research Institute in a variety of roles, incuding leading its Astrophysical and Planetary Sciences group, and was chair of NASA’s Outer Planets Science Working Group. He also served as the Associate Administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate.

Stern is also an inveterate adventurer, having dived on the wreck of the Titanic and flown as a NASA-sponsored citizen astronaut on Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo. He worked with a variety of newspace startups, noting, “I am a fan of public-private partnerships and building bridges to new markets, I believe we are on the verge of a whole new era of space exploration and that the private sector can provide reliable cost-effective services that can increase the value and leverage government space budgets.”

Aggie Kobrin, the NSS Event Manager, said, “The ISDC is the only major space conference that is intended for everyone, from space professionals to students to the lay public. It is the largest and longest running space conference anywhere. We’re thrilled to have Alan addressing attendees of the ISDC, all of whom are deeply interested in his work in the outer solar system.” You can find more information on the conference at

Other notables at this year’s ISDC include Star Trek star William Shatner, former NASA astronauts Susan Kilrain and Jose Hernandez, Dr. Pascal Lee of the SETI Institute and NASA Ames, CEO of Vast Space Max Haot, Chief Engineer of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory Rob Manning, Jordan Noone of Embedded Ventures, Janet’s Planet host and NSS Governor Janet Ivey, Ad Astra magazine Editor-in-Chief Rod Pyle, and Melissa Navia, star of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds.


The National Space Society was founded in 1987 via a merger of the National Space Institute and the L5 Society. The NSS is the preeminent citizen’s voice on space exploration, development, and settlement. To learn more about the NSS and its mission to establish humanity as a spacefaring species, visit us on the web at

Aggie Kobrin
National Space Society
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Originally published at

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Agla News staff