2020 "Robotics in Space" Panel

The Robotics in Space Panel will be held on Thursday, October 22nd from 4:15 - 5:15 PM Central Daylight Time (CDT).

Meet the Panelists Below:

Louise Jandura

Louise Jandura is the Sampling & Caching Chief Engineer for the Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover and has served in this capacity throughout the entire project lifecycle starting in 2013 as deputy Chief Engineer for the architecture phase. She became Chief Engineer proceeding to the design and delivery of the Sampling & Caching Subsystem, and continuing on past the July 2020 launch as the team prepares to operate Perseverance on Mars in February 2021. Louise served in a similar capacity for the sampling system on the Curiosity Rover.

She received her BS and MS in Mechanical Engineering at MIT. She is a principal mechatronics engineer at JPL, with expertise in space mechanisms and sampling systems.

During her 30+ years at JPL, Louise has also worked on many other flight projects including Shuttle Radar Topography Mission, Genesis, Mars Exploration Rovers, and Aquarius.

Ander Solorzano

Ander Solorzano is the Lead Systems Engineer for Astrobotic's lunar landers. Solorzano leads technical development from concept through design and product realization, including the coordination of multiple subsystem activities and integration challenges needed to address mission and payload needs. With a background in mobile robotics development, space robotics development, and control theory, Solorzano develops and researches new technologies that improve space and autonomous robotics applications. For example, he has developed autonomous robot technologies that paint the field lines of soccer fields without the assistance of humans or the use of GPS-based technologies. He has also led several teams in the AUVSI's Intelligent Ground Vehicle Competition and assisted in the development of several tele-operated robots.

Solorzano holds an M.S. degree in Robotics Systems Development from Carnegie Mellon University and a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.

Dr. Kris Zacny  

Dr. Kris Zacny is VP and Senior Scientist at Honeybee Robotics. His interests include space mining, extraterrestrial drilling, and In Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU). He co-founded Exploration Systems (EX), based in Altadena, CA. EX, with over 100 employees, focuses on developing space mining robots.

In his previous capacity as an engineer in South African mines, Dr. Zacny managed numerous mining projects and production divisions. This hands-on experience related to drilling and mining became invaluable in developing such technologies for space. 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 participated in several Antarctic, Arctic, Atacama, and Greenland expeditions. Dr Zacny has approx. 200 publications and four NASA Group Achievement Awards. Dr. Zacny is a Principal Investigator on TRIDENT lunar drill for VIPER rover mission.

Dr. Bill Bluethmann  

Bill Bluethmann currently serves as the rover lead for the Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover (VIPER) mission.  VIPER is a lunar polar mission that seeks to identify composition and distribution of volatiles at the lunar poles.  Prior to VIPER, Bill served in the same roles for the Resource Prospector Mission.  Earlier in his career worked as an engineer, system lead and project manager on the Human Robotic Systems project, Space Exploration Vehicle, Modular Robotic Vehicle and Robonauts.  Bill started his NASA career in the mid 1990’s performing robotic assembly analysis of the International Space Station.  Bill completed his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Kansas.