Meet the team behind the missions. Our Exploration Technology Group includes members based in Pasadena and New York, with diverse backgrounds.
Dr. Kris Zacny is the Director of Exploration Technology at Honeybee Robotics, and focuses on autonomous terrestrial and extraterrestrial drilling, excavation, and geotechnical systems, as well as sample acquisition, transfer and processing technologies. In his previous capacity as an engineer in the South African mines, Dr. Zacny managed numerous mining projects and production departments. Dr. Zacny received his Ph.D. in 2005 from the University of California, Berkeley in Mars drilling. He received B.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering from University of Cape Town in 1997 and ME in Petroleum Engineering from University of California, Berkeley in 2001. He participated in two Arctic expeditions (Ellesmere Island, 2004 and Devon Island, 2006) where he performed extensive drilling tests in the permafrost and in ice. Dr Zacny has over 100 publications, including an edited book for J. Wiley & Sons titled “Drilling in Extreme Environments: Penetration and Sampling on Earth and Other Planets.”
Philip Chu is a Systems Engineer at Honeybee Robotics. Phil has served as lead engineer on numerous robotic systems, including pneumatic and percussive drilling systems, robotic manipulators, and planetary sample acquisition systems. His experience in spaceflight systems for planetary exploration includes Flight Operations for NASA’s Mars Exploration Rovers’ Rock Abrasion Tools (RAT) and the design, integration, and testing of NASA’s Phoenix Lander Icy Soil Acquisition Device (ISAD). Phil has a BS and an MS in Mechanical Engineering from Cornell University.
Gale Paulsen is a Systems Engineer at Honeybee Robotics. Gale has served as lead engineer on several robotic systems, including sampling drills for the Moon and Mars. Gale has taken part in multiple field campaigns to sites ranging from the Mojave Desert to the High Arctic, and was awarded the Antarctica Service Medal for his work on the southernmost continent. He has a BS and an MS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Nebraska.
Bolek Mellerowicz is an Electrical Engineer at Honeybee where his primary interests include electrical and motion control solutions for robotic systems designed for harsh environments. He was involved in designing and building the Precision Sub-sampling System (PSS), a mechanism used for powder acquisition from rock specimens found on the surface of Mars or other planetary bodies. He has been on various field campaigns as support engineer for testing different robotic systems including the Canadian High Arctic where automated drilling and fault recovery procedures were tested with the IceBreaker Drill – a low power and light-weight drill capable of acquiring samples from few meters below the surface. Bolek holds a BS in Applied Physics from Umea University and a MS in Mechatronics from Chalmers Institute of Technology in Sweden.
Justin Spring is a Project Engineer at Honeybee Robotics. Spring graduated from the University of California, Irvine with a BS and MS in Mechanical Engineering in 2011 and 2012, respectively. While at UC Irvine, he researched robotic therapy for human locomotion, and completed his thesis on the effects of perturbations to the pelvis while walking. An interest in robotics lead him to seek out Honeybee, where he started as an intern during graduate school, and was promoted to project engineer after graduation.
Stephen Indyk is a Project Engineer at Honeybee Robotics. Before joining the company, Stephen worked on robotics research projects at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory and Rutgers University. Stephen is completing a MS in Mechanical Engineering from Rutgers University, where he earned a BS in the same discipline.
Alex Wang is a Project Engineer at Honeybee Robotics. Wang graduated from Purdue University with a BS in Electrical Engineering. At Purdue, he was part of the Purdue Vertically Integrated Projects Sensor Network Team, where he helped design and build a sensor tracking system to coordinate the relative position of agricultural vehicles. At Honeybee he focuses on the drills’ software and interfacing electrical hardware.
Joey Palmowski is a Mechanical Engineer at Honeybee Robotics. Joey graduated from the University of South Florida with a BS, and from the University of Nebraska with an MS, both in Mechanical Engineering. As an undergraduate at USF he worked as a research assistant in the Center for Assistive Rehabilitation and Robotics Technologies. During his Masters studies at Nebraska, Joey transitioned to a focus in surgical robotics, and more specifically the design of a miniature in vivo robotic arm for laparoscopic surgery. At Honeybee he focuses on the mechanical design of various robotic drills, sample collection systems, and electromechanical instrumentation.