Blue Moon is a flexible lander delivering a wide variety of small, medium and large payloads to the lunar surface. Photo credit: Blue Origin

UCF Planetary Scientist Named to Blue Origin Science Advisory Board

By: Robert H. Wells on

The University of Central Florida’s reputation as a leader in space research has been further established with the recent announcement that one of its planetary scientists has been named to the science advisory board of a major aerospace company.

Phil Metzger, a planetary scientist with UCF’s Florida Space Institute, joined Blue Origin’s science advisory board in January for their Blue Moon mission to get back to the moon.

“I think it demonstrates that UCF is recognized for the work that we’re doing in space resources and lunar and asteroid exploration,” Metzger says. “There are a lot of different people here at UCF working on various lunar, asteroid and other space science and technology.”

As a board member, his duties will include advising Blue Origin on lunar landing design, payload accommodations, and services, ideas for types of payloads and landing site selection.

Metzger’s expertise on lunar dust and interactions between planetary surface material and rockets makes him a perfect fit for the role.

He will join other Blue Origin Blue Moon science advisory board members including Steve Squyres, chief scientist at Blue Origin; Jack Schmitt, an astronaut from the Apollo 17 mission; Ryan Watkins, a research scientist with the Planetary Science Institute; Jeff Taylor, a researcher emeritus with the University of Hawaii at Mānoa; Brad Jolliff, a professor of Earth and Planetary Science​s with Washington University in St. Louis; and Dean Eppler, a retired NASA researcher with expertise in astromaterials and lunar exploration technology.

Metzger says Blue Origin’s vision of millions of people working and living and space is one he shares as well.

“My personal career goal is to help humanity establish civilization beyond Earth,” he says.

“It will make a tremendous benefit to planet Earth economically as well as environmentally to move industry off the Earth, while at the same time we can grow industry larger than it’s ever been before, he says. “With industry off Earth, the whole world can have a better standard of living, with energy, clean water, all the benefits of its developed economy.”

Metzger received his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Auburn University and his master’s and a doctorate in physics from UCF. Before joining UCF in 2014, he worked at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center for nearly 30 years.

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