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Techno-Stories from Space,
by Donald R. Pettit
Sunday, January 5 • 7:30–8:30 p.m. • Grand Ballroom B
Donald R. Pettit
NASA’s Kennedy
Space Center
Donald Roy Pettit,
a chemical engineer and NASA astronaut, is a veteran of two long-duration
stays aboard the International Space Station, one space shuttle mission, and a six-week expedition
to find meteorites in Antarctica. He received a BS in Chemical Engineering from Oregon State
University and a PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of Arizona. A veteran of three
spaceflights, Pettit has logged more than 370 days in space and over 13 EVA (spacewalk) hours.
He was a staff scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM, from 1984 to 1996.
Projects there included reduced gravity fluid flow and materials processing experiments onboard
the NASA KC-135 airplane, atmospheric spectroscopy on noctilucent clouds seeded from sound-
ing rockets, fumarole gas sampling from volcanoes and problems in detonation physics. He was a
member of the Synthesis Group, slated with assembling the technology to return to the Moon and
explore Mars (1990) and the Space Station Freedom Redesign Team (1993). In 2006, Pettit joined
the Antarctic Search for Meteorites (ANSMET), spending six weeks in Antarctica collecting me-
teorite samples, including a lunar meteorite. He lived aboard the International Space Station for
5½ months during Expedition 6, was a member of the STS-126 crew, and again lived aboard the
station for 6½ months as part of the Expedition 30/31 crew in 2011. During Expedition 30, Petitt
made a video using an Angry Birds character to explain how physics works in space.
Meet and Greet NASA Astronaut, Donald Pettit from 8:30–9 p.m.
Preparing Physicists for the Industrial Revolution of
by Philip Metzger
Monday, January 6 • 2–3 p.m. • Grand Ballroom B
Philip Metzger
NASA’s Kennedy
Space Center
Philip Metzger,
PhD, is a senior research physicist at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, where he
founded and leads the Granular Mechanics and Regolith Operations Laboratory, part of the KSC
Swamp Works. He performs research related to solar system exploration: predicting how rocket
exhaust interacts with extraterrestrial soil, investigating the mechanics of soil, characterizing
lunar and martian soil simulants, modeling the migration of volatiles on airless bodies, etc. He
leads the agency’s work in rocket blast effects for human-class missions. He has participated in
architecture studies for the Lunar Architecture Team, the Mars Architecture Team, and the Lunar
Exploration Analysis Group. He is also leading projects to develop extraterrestrial excavators,
regolith conveyance technologies, dust-tolerant quick disconnects, lunar/martian landing pads,
and other surface systems technology. 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 and was selected as the Kennedy Space Center’s NASA Scientist/Engineer
of the Year for 2011.
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