Author of: Moon Quake
Dr. Alan Binder is the founder and Director of the Lunar Research Institute (LRI), a non-profit, tax-exempt, science based corporation dedicated to the exploration of the Moon and its resources. He is also the founder and CEO of Lunar Exploration Inc. (LEI), a for-profit, engineering based corporation dedicated to building lunar spacecraft and conducting lunar exploration missions. The initial goal for these two sister corporations is to explore the Moon commercially; their penultimate goal is to build a commercial Lunar Base; and the ultimate goal is to start the colonization and utilization of the Moon and its resources for the benefit of humankind.
LRI and LEI are based on Dr. Binder’s having successfully taken the Lunar Prospector Project, a simple, low cost mission he designed to map the Moon from a low polar orbit, from its inception in 1988 to the point where NASA chose it in February 1995, as the first peer reviewed, competitively selected Discovery Mission. Lunar Prospector, for which Dr. Binder, as Principal Investigator, was solely and directly responsible to NASA, was launched on Jan 6, 1998. Under his management, as Mission Director, Lunar Prospector successfully completed its 1-year nominal mapping mission from a 100 km altitude orbit in December 1998, after which Dr. Binder lowered its orbital altitude to 30 km for a 7 month extended mission of high-resolution orbital mapping. The mission ended on July 31, 1999 when he de-orbited the spacecraft so it would impact in a south polar crater as the final experiment of a completely successful mission. His Lunar Prospector Science Team and he then started a several year data analysis program to numerically reduce and interpret the mapping data sets, data sets that are several times better than he had promised NASA before the mission and data that showed the existence of large deposits of hydrogen, thought to be in the form of water ice, in the lunar polar regions.
Dr. Binder has well over 40 years of experience in the space program as a lunar and planetary research scientist and a spacecraft engineer. His research includes both planetary astronomy and geosciences as applied to planetary studies. He was a principal investigator on the 1976 Viking Mars Lander Program and spent 10 years teaching and doing research at various German universities (he speaks fluent German). He has also been active in advanced mission planning for both NASA and ESA in the areas of manned and unmanned lunar and planetary missions and lunar base design. He has authored and/or co-authored nearly 100 research papers during his career and written the story of his lunar mapping mission, “Lunar Prospector: Against All Odds”. His latest writing efforts resulted in “Moon Quake” a science faction story about a NASA developed lunar base and a moonquake that destroyed it.
For more information about Dr. Binder, visit his Institute’s website, lunar-research-institute.org, and google Alan Binder.