Lunar Prospector

Launch Vehicle


Mission Control

Ames Research Center

Discovery Program


Alan Binder
Alexander Konopliv
Mario Acuna
William Feldman
Lon Hood
Robert Lin
Scott Hubbard

Alan Binder (Lunar Research Institute, Gilroy, CA)

Dr. Alan Binder is Principal Investigator for the Lunar Prospector mission. He is also responsible for the Alpha Particle Spectrometer instrument on board the spacecraft, as part of the Spectrometer Group (headed by Dr. William Feldman). Dr. Binder earned a bachelor’s degree in physics in 1961 from Northern Illinois University, and in 1967, earned a doctorate in geology and lunar and planetary science from the University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory. His main research interests center around the origin, petrological and structural evolution of the Moon, as well as its possible economic utilization. Dr. Binder has 35 years of experience in the fields of planetary astronomy and planetary geosciences. He was a Principal Investigator on the 1976 Viking Mars Lander Camera Team. For 10 years, he both taught and conducted lunar research in Germany and served as an advisor to the European Space Agency in its studies of a lunar polar orbiter mission. While in Germany, Dr. Binder also developed the proposed German and American lunar exploration program, “Selene,” which was to be a series of lunar landers used to set up a geophysical station network and return samples to Earth. Selene was the forerunner to NASA’s proposed Common Lunar Lander (Artemis), a project on which Dr. Binder also worked. He has authored or co-authored some 60 scientific papers, mainly in the areas of lunar and Mars geology, geochemistry, petrology and geophysics.


Alexander Konopliv (Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA)

Dr. Alexander Konopliv is a Co-Investigator for the Lunar Prospector mission, responsible for the Doppler Gravity Experiment, which will use the spacecraft’s telemetry data to measure the Moon’s gravitational fields. Dr. Konopliv was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1960 and received a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering and mechanics from the University of Minnesota in 1982. In that same year, he received a master’s degree in aerospace engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and in 1986, he earned a doctorate in aerospace engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Konopliv has been involved in planetary gravity analysis since 1991 as a member of the Planetary Gravity Analysis Group in the Navigation Systems Section of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Currently, he is processing the Magellan Doppler tracking data and combining it with the Pioneer Venus Orbiter tracking data to produce a 75th degree and order spherical harmonic gravity field model. This high resolution gravity field model will be made available to the Magellan science team for geophysical investigation. Dr. Konopliv’s work on the lunar gravity field from the reduction of Apollo and Lunar Orbiter data provides the basis for determining the lunar orbit maintenance requirements for Lunar Prospector. This gravity field model was also used by the Clementine mission during operations for real-time orbit determination of the spacecraft. Dr. Konopliv has authored or co-authored a dozen papers on planetary gravity fields and celestial mechanics.


Mario Acuna (Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD)

Dr. Mario Acuña is a Co-Investigator for the Lunar Prospector mission, responsible (along with Dr. Lon Hood) for the spacecraft’s Magnetometer instrument. Dr. Acuña was born in 1940, in Cordoba, Argentina, from where he later received his undergraduate degree at the University there. He went on to receive an MSEE degree in 1967, from the University of Tucuman and then a doctorate in space science from the Catholic University of America, in Washington, D.C., in 1974. From 1963 to 1967, Dr. Acuña worked for the department of electrical engineering and the Ionospheric Research Laboratory at the University of Tucuman, as well as for the Argentine National Space Research Commission. These research activities included several cooperative sounding rocket programs with NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center involving both U.S. and South American scientists, X-ray research with high-altitude balloons and meterological tracking stations. In 1967, he joined the Fairchild-Hiller Corporation in Germantown, Maryland, to provide engineering and scientific support services to NASA; he became head of the Electronic Systems Division in 1968. Since 1969, Dr. Acuña has been associated with NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, where his research interests have centered around experimental investigations of the magnetic fields and plasmas in the Solar System. He has participated in several planetary missions, including the Explorers 47 and 50 missions, Mariner 10, Pioneer 11, Voyagers 1 and 2, MAGSAT, Project Firewheel (Germany, Canada, United States and United Kingdom), Viking (Sweden), the Active Magnetospheric Particle Tracer Explorers (AMPTE: Germany, United States, United Kingdom), The International Solar Polar Mission and the GIOTTO mission (ESA) to comet Halley. In 1986, he was selected as the Principal Investigator for the Mars Observer Magnetic Field Investigation (launched in 1992) and is currently in charge of the Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft’s magnetometer. Dr. Acuña has published more than 60 research articles, mainly in the field of planetary magnetism.


William Feldman (Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM)

Dr. William Feldman is a Co-Investigator for the Lunar Prospector mission and serves as the Spectrometer Group Leader, overseeing the operation of three of the spacecraft’s instruments: the neutron spectrometer, gamma ray spectrometer and alpha particle spectrometer. Dr. Feldman was born in 1940. He received a bachelor’s degree in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1961 and later earned a doctorate in nuclear structure from Stanford University, in 1968. He has 17 years of experience in analyzing and interpreting solar wind and magnetospheric data. He has participated in the design of seven plasma experiments and an energetic electron dosimeter. Dr. Feldman was the Principal Investigator on a total-absorption neutron spectrometer rocket experiment and a fast neutron spectrometer launched aboard the Naval Research Laboratory LAEC spacecraft. He was also a Co-Investigator on a variety of missions, including Pioneer 10 and 11, IMP 6, 7 and 8, ISEE 1,2 and 3, Mariner 10, Giotto JPA and the Ulysses Space Plasma Physics Experiments. Dr. Feldman was also a member of the Mars Observer Gamma Ray Spectrometer Team, with responsibility for the neutron sensor/charged particle anti-coincidence shield and is chairman of the Solar Probe Science Study Team. He has authored or co-authored more than 180 scientific papers.


Lon Hood (University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ)

Dr. Lon Hood is a Co-Investigator for the Lunar Prospector mission, responsible (along with Dr. Mario Acuña) for the spacecraft’s Magnetometer instrument. Dr. Hood was born in Marshall, Texas in 1949, and received a bachelor’s degree in physics in 1971 from Northeast Louisiana University. He later earned a doctorate in geophysics and space physics from the University of California, Los Angeles, where he studied mapping and interpretation of lunar crustal magnetic anomalies using the Apollo 15 and 16 subsatellite magnetometers. Dr. Hood is presently a staff member of the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory at the University of Arizona, where his research for the past several years has focused on theoretical and observational studies of lunar magnetism, outer planet magnetospheres and the terrestrial middle atmosphere. He has served on a number of NASA committees on the Moon and asteroids and has authored or co-authored some 60 scientific papers and two book chapters.


Robert Lin (University of California, Berkeley)

Dr.Robert Lin is a Co-Investigator for the Lunar Prospector mission, responsible for the spacecraft’s Electron Reflectometer instrument. Dr. Lin was born in Kwangsi, China in 1942 and later became a U.S. citizen. He received a bachelor’s degree in physics from Caltech in 1962 and earned a doctorate in physics from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1967. He is currently Professor of Physics and Associate Director of the Space Sciences Laboratory at U.C. Berkeley. Dr. Lin has developed experiments for numerous missions, including lunar orbiting Explorer 35 and the Apollo 15 and 16 subsatellites. Dr. Lin and his colleagues developed the electron reflectometer technique for remotely measuring surface magnetic fields on planetary bodies. He is the Principal Investigator for the plasma and energetic particle experiment on the Wind spacecraft, lead Co-Investigator for the Electron Reflectometer experiments on the Mars Observer and Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft, and Principal Investigator for hard X-ray and gamma ray spectrometer experiments for astrophysics and solar physics from balloons. He is also a Co-Investigator on Ulysses, ISTP Cluster and Equator spacecraft experiments. Dr. Lin has authored or co-authored 236 papers on solar, interplanetary, planetary, magnetospheric physics and astrophysics.


Scott Hubbard (NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.)

Mr. Scott Hubbard is NASA mission manager for Lunar Prospector and also a Co-Investigator, responsible for the spacecraft’s Gamma Ray Spectrometer instrument. Mr. Hubbard received a bachelor’s degree in physics from Vanderbilt University in 1970 and has done graduate work at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the originator of the Mars Pathfinder (formerly MESUR) mission. He is currently Deputy Director of Space at NASA Ames Research Center, where he supervises studies, hardware development and mission operations on such missions as Pioneer and the Galileo Probe. Mr. Hubbard has also contributed experimental hardware to numerous ionizing radiation investigations, including balloon experiments, Apollo-Soyuz and HEAO-Cand ISEE-3. While at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, he developed the first thin-window germanium charged-particle telescope, as well as basic technology for ultra-pure germanium gamma ray devices and for far infrared photoconductors. Before coming to Ames, Mr. Hubbard was General Manager for Canberra Semiconductor, and a Senior Research Physicist at SRI International. He has received numerous honors, including NASA’s Exceptional Achievement Medal and is the author of more than 30 papers on radiation detection and space missions.


project history science education dataviz archives tools