2020 Lunar PSR Challenge Judges

David Ben Bussey
Dr. David "Ben" Bussey
NASA Headquarters

Dr. David "Ben" Bussey is a planetary scientist who is currently the Senior Exploration Scientist in NASA’s Lunar Discovery and Exploration Program at NASA headquarters. He earned a BA in Physics from Oxford University and a Ph.D. in Planetary Geology at University College London before moving to the United States. He gained both science and mission experience while working at the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston, the European Space Agency, Northwestern University and the University of Hawaii, before joining the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory where he was the Group Supervisor of the planetary exploration group.

Dr. Bussey’s research concentrates on the remote sensing of the surfaces of planets, particularly the Moon. He has a specific interest in the lunar poles, producing the first quantitative illumination maps of the polar regions. He co-authored the Clementine Atlas of the Moon, the first atlas to map both the lunar near side and far side in a systematic manner.

Dr. Bussey recently moved to NASA’s Science Mission Directorate from the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, where he was the Chief Exploration Scientist. Prior to his positions at NASA headquarters he was Principal Investigator of the NASA VORTICES SSERVI team, and before that Principal Investigator of a NASA Lunar Science Institute team that considered the exploration and scientific potential of the lunar poles. He also was the Principal Investigator of the Mini-RF radar instrument on NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, and Deputy Principal Investigator of the Mini-RF radar instrument on India’s Chandrayaan-1 mission. These instruments acquired the first radar data of the lunar poles and farside.

He enjoys planetary analog field work and has been fortunate to have twice been part of the Antarctic Search for Meteorites expedition to recover meteorites from the Antarctic glaciers.

Ben Bussey
NASA Headquarters

Kevin Kempton
Kevin Kempton
NASA Langley Research Center


Kevin Kempton is currently a Program Element Manager in NASA’s Game Changing Development (GCD) Program Office managing multiple technology development projects. Mr. Kempton recently led the development of the Mars Ice Home habitat design study through the Center Innovation Fund. Last year Mr. Kempton also led a NASA Advanced Innovative Concepts (NIAC) study called PHLOTE (Phobos L1 Operational Tether Experiment). Previously, Mr. Kempton was the project manager for the Autonomous Landing and Hazard Avoidance Technology (ALHAT) Sensor Development at Langley. Mr. Kempton planned, managed and executed the integration and flight test campaigns that led up to the successful flight test of the ALHAT system on the Morpheus vehicle at KSC. Before ALHAT, Mr. Kempton was the Lead Systems Engineer for the CLARREO Climate Mission Development. He also served as the Lead Systems Engineer and Verification Manager for the Ares I-X Demonstration Flight Test and was awarded the NASA Exceptional Achievement Award as well as the Space Flight Awareness Award for leadership and innovations in systems engineering. Mr. Kempton has developed many software applications and tools for project management, systems engineering and test management. Prior to joining NASA, Mr. Kempton led a large software test team at Warner Robins AFB.

Kevin Kempton
NASA Langley Research Center

Jennifer Edmunson
Dr. Jennifer Edmunson
Jacobs Space Exploration Group


Dr. Jennifer Edmunson is a planetary scientist specializing in radioisotope geochemistry, planetary regolith and regolith simulants, as well as in-situ resource utilization (ISRU) technology development. She is currently serving as the ISRU Integration Lead for In-Space Manufacturing and the Engineering Services and Science Capability Augmentation contract’s Technical Fellow in Science and Optics. She served as the subject matter expert in planetary materials for the 3D Printed Habitat Challenge, defining the relevance of materials used as aggregates and binders in the Challenge to available resources on Mars. She has also been the project scientist for the development of a miniaturized scanning electron microscope for a Mars rover, lead for the development of cementitious materials from planetary in-situ resources, and member of the project team that flew the first 3D printer to the International Space Station. Dr. Edmunson’s publications include numerous conference abstracts and peer-reviewed papers, a book chapter on lunar resources, and an encyclopedia entry on lunar regolith simulants.

Jennifer Edmunson
Jacobs Space Exploration Group

Bernard Kutter
Bernard Kutter
United Launch Alliance


Bernard Kutter is United Launch Alliance’s (ULA) Chief Scientist and the manager of Advanced Programs. In this role, Kutter is responsible for developing technologies and capabilities to support ULA’s long-term strategic needs, including developing the Cislunar economy. In 2003, he initiated and led development of Atlas evolution including in-space applications. Prior to this Kutter managed the Atlas thermodynamics group, where he was involved 67 successful missions.

Kutter began his career at General Electric jet engines and later moved to General Dynamics (GD) Space Systems to pursue his passion for space exploration. At GD, he was involved in the development of cryo fluid management techniques for the new Titan Centaur stage, including the first successful launch.

Kutter received a Bachelor of Science degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Washington. He is a Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, a member of AIAA’s Space Transportation Technical Committee, the Space Frontier Foundation, and the National Space Society, and has written on a range of issues related to space transportation and the Cislunar economy.

Bernard Kutter
United Launch Alliance

Christopher Jones
Dr. Christopher Jones
NASA Langley Research Center


Dr. Christopher Jones works in the Space Mission Analysis Branch at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, VA. His current work includes the design of a Value Framework for articulating benefits, costs, and risks for Earth Science observing systems, evaluation of the architectural trades of using lunar resources for human missions on the Moon and to Mars, and technology assessments in support of the Space Technology Mission Directorate. His previous work includes leading development of a Venus atmospheric exploration concept, performing trajectory analysis in support of future NASA missions, and modeling in-situ resource utilization architectures for the Moon and Mars. He obtained his Masters and Ph.D. in aerospace engineering from Georgia Tech in 2009 and 2016, respectively, and his Bachelors in mechanical engineering from the University of South Carolina in 2007.

Christopher Jones
NASA Langley Research Center

Philip Metzger
Dr. Philip Metzger
University of Central Florida


Dr. Philip Metzger is a planetary scientist at the University of Central Florida. He worked at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center for about 30 years, where he co-founded the KSC Swamp Works. He performs research related to solar system exploration: lunar mining, soil mechanics, rocket exhaust interactions with planetary surfaces, etc. While at NASA he led the Agency’s work in rocket blast effects for human-class missions. He co-founded NASA’s biannual Workshop on Granular Materials in Lunar and Martian Exploration and is a founding member of the ASCE Technical Committee for Regolith Operations, Mobility and Robotics. He received the astronaut’s Silver Snoopy award in 2010, was selected as the Kennedy Space Center’s NASA Scientist/Engineer of the Year for 2011, and received the ASCE Aerospace Division’s Outstanding Technical Contribution Award for 2016.

Philip Metzger
University of Central Florida

Gerald Sanders
Gerald Sanders
NASA Johnson Space Center


Gerald Sanders has worked at the NASA Johnson Space Center full time for over 32 years in the Propulsion and Power Division of the Engineering Directorate, and has extensive experience in propulsion, fluid systems, and In Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU). Mr. Sanders currently serves as the ISRU System Capability Leadership Team (SCLT) Lead in the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD) and Co-Investigator for Human Mission Extensibility for the Mars OXygen Isru Experiment (MOXIE) for the Mars 2020 rover. As the ISRU SCLT, he serves as the technical steward for the Agency on ISRU system-level capabilities that span multiple Mission Directorates and Centers, leads roadmap activities to inform mission planning work and investment strategies, and serves as Agency-wide resource to help NASA missions leverage technologies, facilities, and workforce unique to the capability. He received his B.S. degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Cincinnati in 1987.

Gerald Sanders
NASA Johnson Space Center

Kris Zacny
Dr. Kris Zacny
Honeybee Robotics


Dr. Kris Zacny is Vice President of Exploration Technology Group at Honeybee Robotics. His expertise includes space mining, drilling, In Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU), and geotechnical systems.

In his previous capacity as an engineer in South African gold, diamond, and coal mines, Dr. Zacny managed numerous mining projects and production divisions. Dr. Zacny received his PhD (UC Berkeley, 2005) in Geotechnical Engineering with an emphasis on Extraterrestrial Drilling and Mining, ME (UC Berkeley, 2001) in Petroleum Engineering with emphasis on Drilling and Materials Science, and BSc cum laude (U. Cape Town, 1997) in Mechanical Engineering.

He has participated in several Antarctic, Arctic, Atacama, and Greenland expeditions. Dr Zacny has over 300 publications related to space mining and ISRU, he has been a Principal Investigator on over 100 ISRU, drilling, and space mining projects, he has over 40 NASA New Technology Records and four NASA Group Achievement Awards.

Dr. Zacny is a Principal Investigator of PlanetVac pneumatic sample delivery system for CLPS lunar landers and TRIDENT lunar drill for VIPER rover. He is a Project Manager for the Pneumatic Sampler for JAXA’s Martian Moons Exploration (MMX) mission to return samples from Phobos, and a lead on DrACO drilling and sample delivery system for NASA’s New Frontiers Dragonfly mission to Titan.

Kris Zacny
Honeybee Robotics


2020 Consultants

Consultant are subject matter experts who help define the challenge parameters, provide inputs into the selection process, and are invested in the outcome of the competition. Please click images for full bios.

Dean Bergman
Dr. Dean Bergman
Honeybee Robotics


Dr. Dean Bergman's expertise includes interplanetary sample collection and delivery, structural mechanics and analog testing. He is currently the director of business development at Honeybee Robotics in Pasadena, CA. He previously was the risk manager in the flight project office for the Resource Prospector mission at NASA Ames Research Center. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship at NASA Ames where he researched diagnostic methods for autonomously detecting faults in interplanetary drilling missions. He obtained a PhD in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Southern California where he focused on modelling of novel deployable space structures. His undergrad was in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Cape Town.

Dean Bergman
Honeybee Robotics

William Bluethmann
Dr. William "Bill" Bluethmann
NASA Johnson Space Center


Dr. William “Bill” Bluethmann currently serves as the rover element lead for the Virtual Intelligent Planetary Exploration Rover (VIPER) mission. The robotic rover on VIPER seeks identify and measure the horizontal and vertical distribution of volatiles at the lunar poles.

Previously, Bill was the Project Manager of the Human Robotics Systems Project within NASA’s Game Changing Development program. The Human Robotics Systems project is a multi-center team consisting of the best NASA has to offer in the area of research and development robotics.

Between 1998 and 2007, Bill was as member of NASA’s Robonaut team, serving as the project’s software development lead throughout the early phases of the system’s development, until taking on the challenge of mobility for the lunar surface in late 2006. Robonaut is a humanoid robot designed to assist astronauts in space. Robonaut is currently preparing to be re-deployed to the International Space Station. As a member of the Robonaut team, Bill led the software development for the Robonaut 1 series, Spidernaut, and Centaur robots. He also has a proven record of integrating new robots, having lead the integration of an intelligent cockpit for time delayed operations and the Centaur base for Robonaut.

Early in his career, Bill supported the International Space Station and Space Shuttle programs by performing off-line and human-in-the-loop simulations of berthing operations between the Shuttle and Space Station. Bill holds a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Kansas, where as a graduate student he studied manipulation and force control with hydraulic manipulators.


William Bluethmann
NASA Johnson Space Center

Patrick Troutman
Patrick Troutman
NASA Langley Research Center


Patrick A. Troutman graduated in 1984 from Virginia Tech with a BS in Aerospace & Oceanographic Engineering along with a minor in Computer Science. In the past 30 plus years he has worked for NASA designing and assessing the International Space Station, leading systems analysis related to future space scenarios including managing the NASA Revolutionary Aerospace Systems Concepts (RASC) program, helping to define the Vision for Space Exploration, leading the integration for the Constellation Program lunar surface architecture, and leading human space exploration mission design for the NASA Human Spaceflight Architecture Team and the Evolvable Mars Campaign.

Mr. Troutman currently serves as the lead for human exploration strategic assessments at the NASA Langley Research Center where his current efforts include developing what the next set of activities for humans should be beyond the international space station, and how those missions will prepare humanity for missions to the Moon and Mars.

Patrick Troutman
NASA Langley Research Center