Simon Peter Worden (born 1949, in Michigan) was Director of NASA's Ames Research Center (ARC) at Moffett Field, California, until his retirement on March 31, 2015. Prior to joining NASA, he held several positions in the United States Air Force and was research professor of astronomy at the University of Arizona, Tucson. He is a recognized expert on space issues – both civil and military. Worden has authored or co-authored more than 150 scientific papers in astrophysics, space sciences, and strategic studies. He served as a scientific co-investigator for two NASA space science missions, and received the NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal for the 1994 Clementine mission. He was named the 2009 Federal Laboratory Consortium Laboratory Director of the Year...
Peter Worden, a speaker at the Space Workshop ’23, explores the possibilities of discovering new planets and life in the universe. He challenges the notion that there is no “Planet B” and emphasizes the need for continuous adventure in space exploration. Worden introduces the privately funded Breakthrough Initiatives, which aims to study life in the universe. With a $100 million effort, the initiative seeks to find intelligent signals and signs of life. Though a detected signal turned out to be interference, Breakthrough Initiatives remains determined. The program also includes plans to observe the Alpha Centauri system and explore the possibility of sending a spacecraft through the Breakthrough Starshot program. Worden highlights the use of light sails propelled by a high-power laser as a potential propulsion method. Furthermore, he discusses the project’s artist’s conception and the potential to gather valuable data about the planets in the Alpha Centauri system. Sharing his experience in private sector space science initiatives, Worden mentions the challenges faced when implementing projects and the importance of communication with government authorities.