Les Johnson is a husband, father, physicist, manager, and author of science fiction / science fact. In his "day job" he serves as the Deputy Manager for the Advanced Concepts Office at the NASA George C. Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. His science fiction novel, Back to the Moon, was published in hardcover (2010) and paperback (2012) by Baen. Going Interstellar, a science fiction anthology about realistic interstellar travel was published by Baen in June 2012. He is also the co-author of three published popular science books, Living Off the Land in Space (Springer/Copernicus 2007), the 2008 PROSE Award finalist, Solar Sails: A Novel Approach to Interplanetary Travel (Springer/Copernicus 2008) and Paradise Regained: The Regreening of Earth, (Springer/Copernicus 2009). In the early 2000’s, Les was NASA’s Manager for Interstellar Propulsion Research and later managed the In-Space Propulsion Technology Program. He has worked for NASA since 1990.
Les frequently speaks to the general public about space and science. He regularly speaks to civic and community groups throughout the southeastern United States and has done so in public forums in four countries. One student at the Tec de Monterey in Monterey, Mexico told him that he was “bigger than a rock star.” (Now that’s something a physicist does not hear very often!) He was the technical consultant for the movie, Lost in Space and the soon-to-be-released Europa Report. NPR, CNN, Fox News, The Science Channel and The Discovery Channel have all interviewed him about space and space exploration. He appeared on the Discovery Science Channel in three episodes of their July 2009 series about interplanetary and interstellar exploration called Exodus Earth and the "How to Build A Starship" episode of Michio Kaku's 2010 Discovery Science Channel Series Physics of the Impossible. He will be featured on National Geographic Channel’s “Evacuate Earth” in 2012.
Les was the NASA co-investigator on a Japanese space propulsion experiment, T-Rex, which flew in the fall of 2010. He was the Chief Scientist for the ProSEDS space experiment, twice received NASA’s Exceptional Achievement Medal, and holds 3 space technology patents. He has numerous peer-reviewed publications and was published in Analog. He is a frequent contributor to the Journal of the British Interplanetary Society and a member of the National Space Society, The World Future Society, and MENSA.
You can find out more about Les Johnson on his website, lesjohnsonauthor.com.