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NASA Ames names new director

After a three-month search, NASA has named a new director for the space ageny's Ames Research Center, based in Moffett Field, Calif., in the heart of Silicon Valley. Simon "Pete" Worden, a retired U.S. Air Force brigadier general, will take over managing the center's $600 million annual budget and 2,500 research personnel, following recent cutbacks throughout the space agency that were focused on science and research. Worden, a research professor of astronomy at the University of Arizona, Tucson, has a track record in the Air Force as former director, among other positions, in charge of developing next generation launch concepts.

He succeeds G. Scott Hubbard, who announced his departure in January after 9 years at NASA Ames and roughly four years as its director. Hubbard is now the Carl Sagan Chair for the study of life in the universe at the SETI Institute, based in Mountain View.