Prof. Dan Britt – Founder
Dr. Daniel Britt is a Professor of Astronomy and Planetary Sciences at the Department of Physics, University of Central Florida. He was educated at the University of Washington and Brown University, receiving a Ph.D. from Brown in 1991. He has had a varied career including service in the US Air Force as an ICBM missile launch officer and an economist for Boeing before going into planetary sciences. He has served on the science teams of two NASA missions, Mars Pathfinder and Deep Space 1. He was the project manager for the camera on Mars Pathfinder and has built hardware for all the NASA Mars landers. He currently does research on the physical properties and mineralogy of asteroids, comets, the Moon, and Mars under several NASA grants and is the director of the Center for Lunar and Asteroid Surface Science (CLASS), a node of NASA’s Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI). He has served as the Chair of the Division for Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society and the Planetary Geology Division of the Geological Society of America. Honors include 6 NASA Achievement Awards, election as a Fellow of the Meteoritical Society, and an asteroid named after him; 4395 DanBritt.
Mike Conroy – Project Manager
Mike Conroy leads the Florida Space Institute (FSI) Student Design Projects, integrating mentors and scientists from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) with FSI’s Colleges and Universities. This includes collaboration to identify project needs, development of project content and execution of projects benefit the Students, Universities and NASA. Mike also serves as the Technical Chair of the international Simulation Exploration Experience (SEE), a STEM/STEAM initiative integrating students, industry, professional associations and faculty for an annual, cooperative, Space Exploration Modeling and Simulation Challenge with bases on both the Moon and Mars. Mike has over 35 years of Space System Design, Development, Maintenance and Operations experience with NASA Projects, Programs and Initiatives and held positions ranging from System Engineer to Operations Manager to Chief to Program Representative across domains including Flight Systems, Ground Systems, Information Technology and Simulation. Roles varied from hands on engineering and integration to team leadership to program management and leadership of multi - center (NASA) teams. Mike led the modeling and simulation organization as a part of the Program System Engineering and Integration (SE&I) for the NASA Constellation Program. Also significant is the partnership with the State of Florida to capture and implement Orion Spacecraft assembly and integration for the State. He received numerous honors, and awards include NASA’s Outstanding Leadership Medal. Mike is also a Porsche Club trained High Performance Driver Education Instructor, coaching drivers on vehicle dynamics and high speed driving on closed courses.
Anna Metke – Director of Operations
Anna Metke is the Director of Operations at Exolith Lab where she facilitates the development of simulated space resources. She focuses on building her career to aid the development of a Sustainable Space Economy. Anna’s background includes 9 years of experience working in business management and 4 years of experience in scientific research. Anna has a Bachelor’s degree in Business and continues her education in the physical sciences. She began her journey specializing in space resources with Deep Space Industries where she aided in simulant production and business development. Anna joined the Exolith Lab team when Deep Space Industries incorporated into UCF. With a passion for science as well as art, she has spent several years participating in science organizations and STEAM outreach programs to encourage young enthusiasts. She also runs a small business where she shares her enthusiasm for space, art, and nature. When she is not at the lab, Anna enjoys travel, hiking, and cooking.
Dr. Zoe Landsman - Chief Scientist
Dr. Zoe Landsman holds both a B.S. in Physics and a PhD in Physics with a Planetary Science specialization, from the University of Central Florida. Her research focuses on characterizing the surfaces of airless bodies using observational and laboratory techniques and thermal modeling. She currently works as a research scientist at the Florida Space Institute and serves as Chief Scientist for Exolith Lab. Working at Exolith appealed to her because it combines her scientific interest in the surfaces of rocky planetary bodies with the excitement of space exploration. Fun fact, in her free time she is a powerlifter!
Jared Long-Fox - Chief Scientist
Jared Long-Fox leads science operations at Exolith Lab, integrating undergraduate, graduate, and post-doctoral researchers on collaborative and interdisciplinary projects internally and with NASA and other organizations worldwide. Jared has 9 years of experience in geophysical computational parameter estimation methods and numerical modeling, 7 years of experience in electronics and rover development, and 3 years of experience in flight hardware and software development. His current research includes experimental designs and geomechanical data analysis for the NASA COLDArm mission and the MMPACT mission. These missions are a collaborations with the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), NASA Glenn Research Center (GRC), NASA Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC), and NASA Kennedy Space Center (KSC) Swamp Works through the Center for Lunar and Asteroid Surface Science (CLASS) node of NASA's Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI). He also is part of the JPL-led team developing SPARTA to characterize the in situ mechanical, thermal, and electrical properties of planetary regolith. Jared serves as the Vice Chair of the Regolith Operations, Robotics and Mobility technical committee of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and serves on the Science Advisory Board of the Plant the Moon Challenge. Jared also mentors students in planetary science, with topics spanning computer programming, development of in-lab electronic and mechanical experiment hardware, flight hardware development, and autonomous control systems. He is also an avid snowboarder who has taught multiple people to safely enjoy winter sports.
Parks Easter - Chief Geotechnical Engineer
Parks Easter has a bachelors degree in Civil Engineering with a focus on Geotechnical Engineering from the University of Central Florida. Space appealed to him at a young age, from watching the space shuttle take off to attending Space Camp. Parks hopes to assist in humanity's expansion into space through ISRU and Geotechnical Engineering.
Konrad Krol - Operations Manager
Konrad Krol is a Senior undergraduate pursuing a degree in Industrial Engineering at the University of Central Florida. He currently leads Exolith's Production and Industrial staff as Operations Manager to ensure that Exolith continues to supply the ever growing demand of the ISRU industry. Outside of Exolith, Konrad has been a member of the Students for the Exploration and Development of Space for several years as well, having been the President of our local UCF chapter and now being SEDS USA's NASA Partnerships Co-Coordinator. Additionally, Konrad is a Manufacturing Support Intern at Lockheed Martin's RMS facility here in Orlando. After graduating, Konrad intends to pursue either an MBA or a master's degree in Industrial Engineering to keep building on his experience and education to make meaningful contributions to the future of Humans in Space.
Johnna Noel - Digital Marketing Manager
Johnna Noel has an associate degree in architecture and is currently seeking a bachelor’s degree in marketing at the University of Central Florida. She has always found space fascinating and is currently the Vice President of the Astronomy Society at the University of Central Florida. In her free time Johnna loves to write, hang out with friends, and cuddle with her cats.
Lucas Weber - Chief Engineer
Lucas Weber is a UCF alumni with a bachelor's degree in Aerospace Engineering. He enjoys spending his time on woodworking projects, going to rocket launches, and watching the future of spaceflight become reality. He loves working at Exolith Lab where he can be a contributing part of the space industry as it enters a new space race on the way to the moon, mars, and beyond. With experience in both payload integration and In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU), Lucas can't wait to be among the many amazing engineers and scientists that send the first humans to mars and build a permanent colony on the moon.
Steven Elsaid - Lead Biologist
Steven Elsaid is a senior in biology with a certificate in Geographic Information Systems at the University of Central Florida. Steven is leading the ISRU plant research projects and is on the Molten Regolith Electrolysis team here at Exolith. After graduation, he intends to earn a PhD in astrobiology. When he is not at the lab, Steven can be found gardening, working out, or on the water.
Joshua Conway - Lead Wheel Traffic Engineer
Joshua is an undergraduate pursuing a degree in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Central Florida. He dreams to one day work for NASA’s Mission Control and to help inspire new generations of engineers and scientists. Previously he worked as a Research Assistant at the World’s largest and most powerful magnet laboratory (National High Magnetic Field Laboratory) where he presented research to the National Science Foundation. Joshua has also completed a Project Management internship at Siemens Energy and has given public speeches for Toastmasters International. “Exolith called to me because it was a chance to have my first ‘space-industry’ job! I was ecstatic when I got hired on, knowing that I get to contribute to the field of space exploration is both a fascinating and fulfilling undertaking.” Joshua is also an active member of multiple student organizations on campus including SEDS (Students for Exploration and Development of Space) and NAR (National Association of Rocketry) where he is currently getting his L1 High-Power Rocketry Certification. In his free time, he enjoys studying Russian, 3D printing, and being physically active.
Ana-Paula Dovali - Outreach Director
Ana-Paula Dovali is an undergraduate researcher studying Molecular Microbiology and Cell Science with a focus on Astrobiology at the University of Central Florida. When not working at the lab, Ana-Paula plays for the UCF Women’s Rugby team, walking her dogs, and watching movies. Ana-Paula also actively participates in Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS) as a project lead for RASC-AL, an internal affairs officer, and mentor for new members. As she progresses in her career, she hopes to focus her research on terraforming using microorganisms for Mars and study extraterrestrial life. Here at Exolith, Ana Paula loves working with all kinds of regolith and studying their chemical properties. At the lab, she loves working with her coworkers and bringing a smile to their faces. She hopes to implement her experience here into her future projects.
Jessie Jolly - Lead Simulant Engineer
Jessie Jolly is an undergraduate junior studying Aerospace Engineering at the University of Central Florida. Jessie is interested in space exploration and has worked on designing rovers with alternative locomotion for the NASA Big Ideas Challenge. At Exolith Lab, he channels his passion and love for space into the regolith simulant he helps create with his team. Besides space, Jessie is also interested in aviation and hopes to get a pilot's license one day. He is also the treasurer of Fitness & Martial Arts and enjoys kickboxing, badminton, surfing, and cooking in his free time.
Nico Afanador - Lead ISRU Engineer
Nicolas Afanador is pursuing a Bachelor's Degree in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Central Florida. He hopes that the work he does at Exolith makes an impact in the future of space exploration and sustainability. In his spare time, Nicolas likes to travel, watch launches, work out, and be with friends and family.
Max Kuehn - ISRU Lab Engineer
Max Kuehn is a dedicated undergraduate Aerospace Engineering student studying at the University of Central Florida, who's passion for space began when he moved to Florida at 6 years old being able to witness rockets launching from his driveway. Since then, Max has worked to improve space technology through his internships with Northrop Grumman, involvement with clubs such as the Intercollegiate Rocketry Engineering Competition (IREC) and the Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS), and varying associated course projects. In his freetime, Max can be found listening to and making music, watching the Milwaukee Bucks and the Green Bay Packers, and scrolling through YouTube videos about the world of Aerospace Engineering. Upon completion of his Bachelor's degree, Max wishes to continue to apply his knowledge and skills towards the ever growing space industry, while it's developing right here in our backyard!
Annalyn Connor - ISRU Lab Engineer
Annalyn is in her third year studying Aerospace Engineering with a minor in Physics and Astronomy at UCF, as well as a Technical Certification in Laser and Photonics at Valencia College. Annalyn has been fascinated with the Universe since she was young- watching launches at the Cape and inspired by her grandfather who worked on several Apollo missions. Annalyn is the Vice President of the Amateur Radio Club at UCF, a member of Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS) at UCF, a part of Women in Aviation (WIA), and the Nation Association of Rocketry. Her dream is to pilot spacecraft on missions to Mars. Annalyn hopes her studies with 6dof sensors and optical imaging systems can aid in the sustainability of Earth as well as further space exploration by studying the environment and internal structure of other potential habitual planets. She believes Exolith Lab is essential in furthering this expedition and is so excited to be a part and research more on the behavior of our simulants.
Catherine Millwater - Undergraduate Researcher
Catherine is an undergraduate at UCF majoring in Physics on the Astronomy track, minoring in math. She is part of the Astronaut Scholarship class of 2022 and is on the executive board of the Astronomy Society at UCF. On campus she enjoys planning and running stargazing nights at the UCF Observatory. She measures the geotechnical properties of simulated regolith at Exolith, and her other research projects include exoplanet work with UCF exoplanets group and systems engineering with The Cornell SEA lab in cooperation with MIT AeroAstro. In her free time, she enjoys rock climbing, hiking, and scuba diving.
Alexander Madison - Graduate Researcher
Alex works as a Research Engineer focusing on geotechnical properties of regolith and simulants, extra terrestrial plant growth, and manipulation of solar energy for use in ISRU technology. His aim is to help humanity build a sustainable lunar colony through the development of ISRU. Alex is also a grad student at UCF working towards a PhD in Mechanical Engineering.
Kiana Linnette Plaza - Operations Supervisor
Kiana Linnette Plaza is a senior in the College of Business at the University of Central Florida, pursuing her Bachelor of Science in Integrated Business. She is passionate about creating and implementing sustainable business models in the ever-developing space industry, and hopes to continue to improve process efficiency throughout the remainder of her career. Kiana is the Director of Special Projects in the Knights Association of Project Management, where she leads multiple teams of members to the completion of projects throughout the duration of the semester, including networking events for other business-oriented Registered Student Organizations, team-building events, and more. As an Operations Supervisor, she uses the skills developed through student involvement and relevant coursework to lead an operations team of 15+ members for the completion of Exolith Lab related activities, including producing our regolith simulant in large quantities (tonnes) and packaging and distributing our product domestically and internationally for our customers. As part of the Business Development team, her passion for Project Management allows for the organized completion of company projects in a timely manner, driving forward our growth! Kiana hopes to continue a career in Project Management in the space industry post-graduation.
Kaaliyah McGaughy - Engineer Team Member
Kaaliyah McGaughy is an undergraduate student striving to obtain her bachelor’s degree in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Central Florida. Kaaliyah found her passion for space in elementary school when her 5th grade class took at field trip to Kennedy Space Center. She immediately fell in love with the thought of space exploration when she saw the many large space crafts hanging from the ceiling. She knew her purpose in life was to create space crafts just like, if not better than, the ones she saw that enlightening day. With the work she does with Exolith Lab, she hopes to inspire little girls to be interested and excited to join the world of STEM because growing up she didn’t see a lot of women that looked like her in the field. Kaaliyah is on the Executive Board of the Caribbean Student Association and one of the captains of her dance team, Collision, at UCF and her hobbies include painting, drawing and reading.