Dr. Alan Stern is a planetary scientist, space program executive, aerospace consultant, and author. In 2007, he was named to the Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People in the World and was appointed NASA’s chief of all science missions. Since 2009, he has been an Associate Vice President at the Southwest Research Institute. Dr. Stern is the Principal Investigator of NASA’s New Horizon’s mission to reconnoiter Pluto and the Kuiper Belt. New Horizons launched in 2006 and arrives at Pluto in 2015. He has been involved as a researcher in 24 suborbital, orbital, and planetary space missions, including 9 for which he was the mission principal investigator; and he has led the development of 8 scientific instruments for NASA space missions. Stern holds a Bachelor's Degree in Physics & Astronomy and a Master's Degree in Aerospace Engineering and Planetary Atmosphere from the University of Texas, Austin, and a Doctorate in Astrophysics and Planetary Science from the University of Colorado, Boulder.