Ellen Stofan

Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, John and Adrienne Mars Director

Dr. Ellen Stofan is the John and Adrienne Mars Director of the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum. She came to the Museum in April 2018 with more than 25 years of experience in space administration and planetary science.

Dr. Stofan was previously Chief Scientist at NASA, serving as the principal advisor to the Administrator on science programs and strategic planning. She helped guide the development of a long-range plan to get humans to Mars, and worked on strategies for NASA to support commercial activity in low Earth orbit as it transitions from the International Space Station (ISS) to sending humans to the Moon and Mars in the mid-2020s.

She held senior scientist positions at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, including work on missions exploring Venus, Earth, Mars, and Saturn. She served as chief scientist for the New Millennium Program, and principle investigator on the proposed Titan Mare Explorer. Dr. Stofan holds master’s and doctorate degrees in geological sciences from Brown University, and a bachelor’s degree from the College of William And Mary. She is an honorary professor at University College London, and was on the board of the College of William & Mary Foundation for 10 years, serving as board chair and co-chair of the development committee as it planned a $1 billion fundraising campaign.