Club Fellow to fly first NASA-funded research flight aboard commercial space flight

Explorers Club Fellow Dr. Alan Stern has been chosen to be the first to conduct NASA-funded science experiments while flying aboard a commercial spacecraft, the space agency announced yesterday.

Dr. Stern will fly aboard the Virgin Galactic commercial spacecraft called “SpaceShipTwo” on a yet unscheduled suborbital mission from the Spaceport America launch site in New Mexico.

“This is the first selection of a private-sector researcher to fly with NASA funding on commercial vehicles,” Stern said. He called the development a “potential sea change” in NASA-funded space research, opening the door to much more extensive experimentation in space by researchers.

In 2020, NASA updated the Flight Opportunities Tech Flights solicitation in part to allow “human-tended” experiments on board commercial spacecraft.

“Going to work in space myself for the first time after having spent so many years sending machines there to do the research for me is going to be a major career highlight, and something I am honored to be selected for,” said Stern, who has previously been involved in 29 space mission science teams but had not flown in space.

Dr. Stern was a recipient of the 2018 Lowell Thomas Award for his work on New Horizons, NASA’s renowned interplanetary space probe which took iconic photos of Pluto during its historic fly-by, and is now continuing on through the Kuiper belt.

The Explorers Club 50 – Looking for Nominations

Each of us knows an explorer who is making a meaningful difference in the world, someone who has inspired and challenged you. We are looking for people who are changing the way we look at the world, whether it be through spoken word, saving a language, field work, or in a lab, whether they work with the tiniest organisms or are helping to solve the world’s biggest problems.

We want you to nominate this individual for our newest initiative – THE EXPLORERS CLUB 50.

Criteria are purposely broad. Think outside of the box, beyond celebrity and lauded accomplishment.  Your nomination should tell us who or what defines exploration in the 21st-century – the best, the brightest, and most influential.

We’re not looking for household names, we’re looking for nominations that deserve recognition and a spotlight for their efforts and contributions – 50 people who are changing the world, that the world needs to know about.

Winners (along with their nominators), will be announced in the Fall of 2020, in publications, digital media and television.

Nominations must be made by Explorers Club Members, but winners will be open to members and non-members alike. You can nominate more than one individual.

Please tell us in 350 words or less, including relevant documents, poetry, art work, expedition links, or anything else that best exemplifies why your nomination is extraordinary. Applications are due September 15th, 2020.


Welcome New Member, Justin Grubb

I am most pleased to introduce a new St. Louis Chapter Member, Justin Grubb. Justin is a conservationist/filmmaker who recently moved to St. Louis. As further background, Justin is a wildlife filmmaker, photographer, published writer, naturalist, and co-founder of Running Wild Media. Justin earned his B.Sc. in Biology at Bowling Green State University and is currently pursuing graduate study for the Master of Biology degree at Miami University in Ohio. With years of international wildlife field research and formal/informal teaching experience, Justin combines these two fields with media to enhance science communication. He is also a 2017 Emerging Wildlife Conservation (EWC) Leader, Term Member at the Explorers Club, and a Nat Geo “Wild to Inspire” award-winning filmmaker.

Welcome, Justin we are delighted to have you as a member of the St. Louis Chapter.

Justin will present a live stream broadcast on Thursday, July 9th at 5:30 P.M. I will send out a Zoom Cocktail invitation so hopefully, we can see each other and ‘gather’ informally from 5:00 to 5:30 socialize before his presentation. Look for the invitation via email soon, as Reservations are required for the program. The cost to participate in the webinar is $15.00. All proceeds go to EWC conservation.

I hope many of you will attend both our Zoom Cocktail and view the Webinar as well.

We look forward to having Justin give a presentation just for the Chapter at some later date in case you are unable to make it on the 9th.

Thanks so much,
Cindy Peters

Cynthia S. Peters
Chapter Chair
St. Louis Chapter – The Explorers Club

NASA Spacex Launch TODAY!

We’re so excited to see the NASA/SPACEX Launch today! Several of our Chapter members were early supporters of the original Ansari XPrize from which this historic private/NASA partnership has arisen.

7 Adventure Books to Read Now

I hope you are all well and coping with our confinement. I’m so glad St. Louis County has reopened most of our parks, especially on such a beautiful day!

“The thing about books is they let you travel without moving your feet” Jhumpa Lahiri. 

Lotsie suggests this list of adventure books to read in our plentiful spare time, and I’ll add “High In The Thin Cold Air” by Heinrich Harrer, and Never Cry Wolf by Farley Mowat.  What are your favorite adventure books?

Marguerite Garrick
TEC Chapter Chair
St. Louis Chapter

Whether in the mountains of Nepal, the wilds of Alaska, the uncharted terrain of Antarctica, or the remote jungles of Borneo, let your spirit of adventure soar with every page of these true and inspiring stories. Our staff handpicked seven of our favorites that ignite our love for exploration. This is the perfect time to get your adventure fix while also supporting independent bookstores.

We may be apart, but we’re all in this together. We hope you and your loved ones continue to be healthy and ready for adventure when it is safe to do so.



President’s Video Report – Spring 2020

Dear Fellow Explorers,

We look forward to your reviewing the latest edition of The Explorers Club President’s Video Report.

In this Report, we start with the latest updates on ECAD 2020; followed by an important outline of the Club’s partnership initiative with Discovery, Inc.

We are pleased to also share with you the latest update on our coverage of expeditions undertaken by our Next Generation of Explorers and the recent activities by our worldwide chapters.

We urge our Chapter Chairs and our worldwide members to send us photo and video updates on your latest activities.  If using a cellphone for photos and video, please hold the phone in the horizontal position, and be sure to include a short narrative and the identity of those in your photos and videos.


Again, great thanks for watching and we welcome your comments.


Bill Liss MN’13
Chair, Communications Committee

116th Explorers Club Annual Dinner Postponed

Dear Members,

Amid growing concerns over the outbreak of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), The Explorers Club with health guidance from the US Center for Disease Control, and local New York City health authorities, has decided to postpone The 116th Explorers Club Annual Dinner until October 10th.

As explorers and expedition leaders, sometimes we must make unpopular and difficult decisions in an effort to protect the health and safety of our members. Even Ernest Shackleton turned back against tremendous odds to protect his team. Like Shackleton, the decision is clear — the safety risk is too great to move forward with ECAD under such tenuous and potentially dangerous circumstances.

For those who have already purchased tickets, please note that your ticket is not cancelled and there are three options we can offer:

  • Unless we hear from you about an option below, your ticket will automatically transfer to the newly scheduled date of October 10, 2020 (this way, your seat is secured for what is likely to be another sold-out event)
  • You may offer your ticket to someone else
  • You may take a 100% deduction for your contribution

This decision was not made lightly. ECAD is the Club’s most significant fundraiser and the Club relies heavily on the funds raised to operate during the year. That being said, our top priority is the well-being of our membership, and we hope that you’ll work with us during this trying time.

Regarding ECAD weekend activities – The annual meeting will still take place, but via world-wide teleconference. We will be releasing further details shortly.  All other weekend activities are postponed to the new date.

The Club has a small, but dedicated staff who many of you know work day and night to provide the best possible service to our members. We ask that you please be patient as they finalize updates.

They will communicate with you about additional ECAD details as soon as they are finalized.

Warm Regards,

Richard Wiese
President, The Explorers Club

Pioneering black NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson dies

The Associated Press

Katherine Johnson, a mathematician who calculated rocket trajectories and earth orbits for NASA’s early space missions and was later portrayed in the 2016 hit film “Hidden Figures,” about pioneering black female aerospace workers, has died. She was 101.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said on Twitter that she died Monday morning. No cause was given.

Bridenstine tweeted that the NASA family “will never forget Katherine Johnson’s courage and the milestones we could not have reached without her. Her story and her grace continue to inspire the world.”

Astronaut Linda Godwin to speak March 4th at The Woman’s Club

I hope you can join us at the exciting March program of The St. Louis Chapter The of Explorers Club for an evening with former NASA Astronaut Dr. Linda Godwin.

A veteran of four space flights, Missouri Native, Dr. Godwin, the 12th woman astronaut, has logged over 38 days in space, including over ten EVA hours in two spacewalks. In 1991 she served as a Mission Specialist on STS-37, was the Payload Commander on STS-59 in 1994, flew on STS-76 in 1996, a Mir docking mission, and served on STS-108/International Space Station Flight UF-1 in 2001. Dr. Godwin will share highlights of her 30 year career at NASA.

Dr. Godwin joined NASA in 1980, in the Payload Operations Division, Mission Operations Directorate, where she worked in payload integration (attached payloads and Spacelabs), and as a flight controller and payloads officer on several Space Shuttle missions.

Selected by NASA as an astronaut candidate in June 1985, Godwin became an astronaut in July 1986. Her technical assignments have included working with flight software verification in the Shuttle Avionics Integration Laboratory (SAIL), and coordinating mission development activities for the Inertial Upper Stage (IUS), deployable payloads, and Spacelab missions. She also has served as Chief of Astronaut Appearances, Chief of the Mission Development Branch of the Astronaut Office and as the astronaut liaison to its Educational Working Group, Deputy Chief of the Astronaut Office, and Deputy Director, Flight Crew Operations Directorate. Godwin is currently the Assistant to the Director for Exploration, Flight Crew Operations Directorate at the Johnson Space Center.

This not to be missed program will be held at The Woman’s Club on March 4th

  • TEC Members Meeting-5:30
  • Cocktails-6:00
  • Dinner-7:00
  • Talk follows dinner at about 8:00

There will be a cash bar for cocktails

Wine will come with dinner for those who’d like it.

Dinner price:

$70 for members and friends $45 for students and educators, $75 for guests.


Baby spinach salad with warm bacon vinaigrette. Grilled hanger steak with roasted garlic potato mash and blanched broccoli. Hazelnut chocolate brownie with cognac chocolate sauce and vanilla ice cream. (Vegetarian, Vegan, or alternative protein options available upon request)

To RSVP, please email

Mail checks to:

Rebecca Doane
Thompson Coburn, LLC
One US Bank Plaza
St. Louis, MO 63101

“Lost Temple of the Inca” – Film Screening & Conversation

The Inca Empire was a beacon of civilization in the Andes Mountains of South America. Its people had a spiritual relationship to the landscape, worshiping mountains and lakes as gods. After the empire collapsed, its legacy survived in the rarified air of the high mountains. Prolific archeologist Johan Reinhard searched high and low to solve the mysteries of this lost empire. Among his greatest accomplishments was the recovery of three perfectly preserved mummies from the highest archeological site in the world. But one of the Inca’s most important temples evaded him: the lost temple of Ausangate.

In 2011, environmental scientist Preston Sowell discovered ruins and artifacts submerged in Lake Sibinacocha, sixteen thousand feet above sea level, at the headwaters of the Amazon River in Peru. Sowell believes that the ruins within and around the lake could be part of Reinhard’s lost temple, one of the Inca’s most significant ceremonial sites. Subsequently, two high-altitude scuba divers on Sowell’s team went deeper into the lake to explore further, and one was tragically killed. In the wake of this tragedy, Sowell developed a profound obligation to understand and protect the site and its fragile ecosystem.

Despite the high altitude and harsh conditions, Sowell has found wildlife thriving at Lake Sibinacocha, some well above previously known altitudes. In 2017, he even documented the Andean mountain cat in the watershed, the rarest and most endangered cat in the Americas. Sadly, Sibinacocha and its wildlife are under threat from mineral exploitation. Lost Temple of the Inca, directed by Jim Aikman, follows Sowell’s work with a team of archaeologists attempting to reveal the significance of the site, and his personal quest to protect this sacred place and understand the profound impact it has had on his life.

Featuring Preston Sowell. Directed by Jim Aikman. A Q&A with Sowell and Aikman will follow the screening.

Runtime: 52 minutes

Preston Sowell FN’17 is an environmental scientist and consultant, naturalist, photographer, and National Geographic Explorer. He founded the environmental consulting firm Geotic Solutions in 2015 and is Executive Director of the Sibinacocha Watershed Project. When not consulting, Preston uses his scientific and mountaineering expertise to support research expeditions studying high altitude ecosystems, and environmental responses to climate change in the South American Andes. In 2002, he collected amphibian samples that documented the most remote and the highest infections of chytridiomycosis (a pathogenic fungus) in frogs. He has led, supported, and photographed expeditions to 18 countries around the world, including 17 scientific expeditions to remote areas of South America. He lives in Boulder, Colorado. Instagram: @kokosun.

Jim Aikman has directed five feature documentaries, including the award-winning climbing film Jeff Lowe’s Metanoia (2014), as well as one feature narrative and dozens of short documentaries and commercial campaigns for the likes of National Geographic, The North Face, REI and other respected brands. A holder of degrees in Film and English Literature from the University of Michigan, Jim has cultivated an interest in narrative theory and history. He lives in Portland, Oregon. Instagram: @bedrockfilmworks.

Date: Thursday, February 20

Time: 6:00 pm Reception, 7:00pm Screening, with Q&A to follow

Location: Club Headquarters, 46 E 70th Street, New York, NY, 10021

Member Ticket Price: $15

Guest Ticket Price: $30

Student Ticket Price: $5 with a valid academic ID on arrival

Reservation Notes:

Click here to purchase tickets online

Reservations are allotted on a first-come, first-serve basis. For questions, please contact us at or call us at 212.628.8383.

Contact Us

The Explorers Club Saint Louis
c/o Marguerite Perkins Garrik
886 Queen Anne Place
St. Louis, Missouri 63122