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Sol Alan Stern born November 22, is an American engineer and planetary scientist. Stern has been involved in 24 suborbital, orbital, and planetary space missions, including eight for which he was the mission principal investigator. Stern has also developed eight scientific instruments for planetary and near-space research missions and has 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.
He resigned from that position after nearly a year. In early Stern's name was mentioned as a potential contender for the position of NASA administrator under President Obama's administration. Mark's School of Texas in He earned a doctorate in astrophysics and planetary science from the University of Colorado, Boulder.
He received his doctorate in In he was selected to be a Space Shuttle mission specialist finalist and in he was a candidate Space Shuttle payload specialist but did not have the opportunity to fly on the Space Shuttle. His research has focused on studies of our solar system's Kuiper belt and Oort cloud , comets , the satellites of the outer planets , Pluto , and the search for evidence of planetary systems around other stars.
He has also worked on spacecraft rendezvous theory, terrestrial polar mesospheric clouds, galactic astrophysics, and studies of tenuous satellite atmospheres, including the atmosphere of the Moon. I recall going to JPL, the Jet Propulsion Lab, the summer of when I was in graduate school to take a summer course in planetary exploration at Caltech and this was the summer of the Voyager fly-by of Neptune and Triton which has turned out to be rather a twin of Pluto.
It was amazing to get to be a part of some first-time exploration like that! Within a matter of months, a small group of us had formed a team, an advocacy group, Why don't we get a mission together for Pluto?
After completing a master's degree in aerospace engineering Stern spent seven years as an aerospace systems engineer, concentrating on spacecraft and payload systems at the NASA Johnson Space Center, Martin Marietta Aerospace, and the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado.
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. The company is located in Kent, Washington and has flight tested some hardware. In , Stern co-founded Uwingu. Stern has extensive experience in instrument development, with a strong concentration in ultraviolet technologies.
In this capacity, Stern has flown numerous WB and F airborne research astronomy missions. Stern and his colleague, Dr. They use the camera to search for a hypothetical group of asteroids Vulcanoids between the orbit of Mercury and the Sun that are so elusive and hard to see that scientists are not sure they exist. With regards to mission preparation Stern has stated: [ citation needed ].
This is not pilot training. Its aircraft systems, egress training, communications. It's really how to live aboard the aircraft and help the pilot as required.
The backseater has a checklist to do. I won't pretend that I am landing the plane at night. I have got stick time on the airplanes and I've been flying airplanes for 20 years, but let's not pretend I am the pilot here.
During his tenure a record 10 major new flight projects were started and deep reforms of the research and also the education and public outreach programs were put in place. On March 26, it was announced that Stern had resigned his position the previous day, effective April Griffin overruled a decrease in funding for the Mars Exploration Rovers and Mars Odyssey missions that was intended to free up funds needed for the upcoming Mars Science Laboratory.
Stern left to avoid cutting healthy programs and basic research in order to cover cost overruns. Michael D. Griffin became upset with Stern for making major decisions without consulting him, while Stern was frustrated by Griffin's refusal to allow him to cut or delay politically sensitive projects.
Griffin favored cutting "less popular parts" of the budget, including basic research, and Stern's refusal to do so led to his resignation. Casting doubt on the theory that Stern resigned due to conflict with former Administrator Griffin is his statement of March 25, at spacepolitics.
I am quite comfortable with my decision to leave, rather than eviscerate innocent SMD missions that should have proceeded apace Griffin , Stern suggested that Griffin's decision to again bail out an over-budget mission was motivated by fear "that any move to cancel the Mars mission would be rebuffed by members of Congress protecting local jobs".
Since leaving NASA, Stern has made constructive criticisms of the budgetary process and has advocated for revamping its public appeal. Stern has become particularly involved in the debate surrounding the definition of planet by the IAU.
After the IAU's decision was made he was quoted as saying "It's an awful definition; it's sloppy science and it would never pass peer review" and claimed that Earth, Mars, Jupiter and Neptune have not fully cleared their orbital zones and has stated in his capacity as PI of the New Horizons project that "The New Horizons project [ One could take this classification system as planet and dwarf planet respectively, with the major difference of the IAU definition classifying the two as distinct categories of celestial bodies instead of two subsets of planets.
Some large satellites are of similar size or larger than the planet Mercury , e. Jupiter's Galilean moons and Titan. Stern has argued that location should not matter and only geophysical attributes should be taken into account in the definition of a planet, and proposes the term satellite planet for a planet-sized object orbiting another planet.
Likewise planet-sized objects in the asteroid belt or Kuiper belt should also be planets according to Stern. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Please help improve it by revising it to be neutral and encyclopedic. March Sol Alan Stern . New Orleans , Louisiana , U. This list is incomplete ; you can help by expanding it. Bibcode : Natur. Retrieved January 9, Alan Stern as Chief Scientist". Moon Express. Space Ref. July 20, Alan Stern". April 2, Archived from the original on September 7, Retrieved April 9, Space Politics. His two undergraduate degrees are in physics and astronomy, also from UT Austin and The evolution of comets and the detectability of extra-solar Oort Clouds.
University of Colorado at Boulder. Archived from the original on November 1, Retrieved June 11, Smithsonian Magazine. NBC News. February 26, NASA Science. Washington, D. March 26, Aviation Week. Archived from the original on May 21, Retrieved March 26, Leary January 1, The New York Times.
The New York Times Company. Orlando Sentinel. Archived from the original on April 3, August 22, Planetary Society. Leary March 27, United Press International. May 8, Alan Stern November 24, BBC News. The PI's Perspective. New Horizons Web Site. Archived from the original on February 4, Alan; Levison, Harold F.
Highlights of Astronomy. Bibcode : HiA Brown, Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences, — Sputnik Planitia.