Time Magazine has named alumnus Alan Stern among "The 100 Most Influential People" for his work as the principal investigator of NASA's New Horizons mission. 

“He has taken us to a realm of the solar system we would not now being seeing up close without his commitment and persistence.” —Time

Alan Stern
Alumnus Alan Stern shortly after New Horizons reached its closest approach to Pluto. Image courtesy NASA

When NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft reached Pluto, one Longhorn had particular cause to celebrate the historic accomplishment: Alan Stern, the mission’s leader.

Stern holds bachelor’s degrees in physics and astronomy and master’s degrees in both aerospace and planetary sciences from UT Austin. As part of the New Horizons mission, Stern helped launch the fastest spacecraft ever and captured breathtaking photos of Pluto.

His work has already helped scientists determine Pluto is larger than many prior estimates and will ultimately help us understand worlds at the edge of our solar system.

Read more about Stern in this feature piece by the Cockrell School of Engineering.