G. Scott Hubbard, director of NASA Ames Research Center, located in California’s Silicon Valley, today announced that he has accepted a new position as the Carl Sagan Chair for the Study of Life in the Universe at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, Calif., effective Feb. 15, 2006. As holder of the Carl Sagan Chair, Hubbard will work to strengthen the SETI Institute’s capability, visibility and support for its research into the origin of life, and how it might be found on other worlds, in the planets and moons of our solar system or beyond.

“The people at Ames are among the best in the agency, and it has been both a pleasure and an honor to serve as the Ames center director. I know Ames will continue to play a creative and critically important role in NASA’s programs,” Hubbard said. “My new position at the SETI Institute allows me to return to the research arena and pursue a lifelong interest in the search for life in the universe and its origins on Earth. I believe this field, which is often called astrobiology, is both the scientific heart of the exploration vision and the most exciting area of research today. We have a chance to learn things that, only a generation ago, would have seemed beyond our capabilities,” he added.

“Scott is the perfect candidate for the Carl Sagan Chair,” remarked Thomas Pierson, chief executive officer of the SETI Institute. “He has a solid background in the relevant sciences and has proven himself to be an effective and widely admired leader. As the holder of the Carl Sagan Chair, Scott will be engaged with many audiences, furthering their understanding about science and its potential for new discoveries. Scott will bring both expertise and enthusiasm to this task and will be a terrific representative for the Institute both domestically and internationally,” Pierson added.

Hubbard began his career at NASA Ames in 1987, and has served as the center director since 2002, accumulating numerous awards and honors along the way. He is known for his innovative approach to collaborations between government, academia and the private sector, particularly as embodied by the development of the award-winning NASA Research Park, research collaborations with Google Inc., and the creation of the Project Columbia supercomputer, one of the world’s fastest.

His many accomplishments include his work on the Columbia Accident Investigation Board, which helped to establish the physical cause of the loss of the space shuttle Columbia. His tenure as the first NASA Mars program director redefined NASA’s robotic Mars missions and led to the successful and ongoing reconnaissance of Mars by the Mars Exploration Rovers. He served as the manager for the Lunar Prospector mission that found water ice at both of the moon’s poles, and he is credited with conceiving the Mars Pathfinder mission. As center director, he managed NASA Ames through a critical transition to better align the center’s capabilities with the Vision for Space Exploration, resulting in the award of the management of the Robotic Lunar Exploration Program. Hubbard also served as the first director of NASA’s Astrobiology Institute.

NASA Ames Research Center specializes in research geared toward creating new knowledge and new technologies that span the spectrum of the agency’s missions and interests, with a focus on the Vision for Space Exploration.

The SETI Institute is a non-profit research organization addressing the broad question of life in the universe. It is home to many dozens of scientists engaged in investigating the origin, nature and distribution of life. Its board of trustees includes many eminent scientists, including two winners of the Nobel Prize, as well as numerous academics and technology innovators.

Additional information about NASA Ames and the SETI Institute is available on the Internet at:

http://www.nasa.gov/centers/ames/home/index.html http://www.seti.org