Featured Member

Tenzin Crouch
Software Team Lead - M.S. Software Engineering (CMU 2021). I joined MoonRanger in August 2020 and took on the role of software team lead, leveraging both my technical background with autonomous systems and my leadership experience as an Officer in the Royal Australian Air Force. Throughout my time on MoonRanger, I have helped the team through a major evolution of the software architecture, migrating the autonomy stack from the Robot Operating System framework to the core Flight Systems framework built by NASA. In the process, I guided major parts of the architectural design, helped implement the team’s software quality practices, and integrated the mission control software. I am most proud of my contribution to the software architecture. By creating an end to end software architecture, I helped shift the team's perspective from developing individual software components to seeing how the whole software system integrates together. Watching a complex system come together is absolutely exhilarating! Whether at work or at home, I am always looking to explore! I love to read books, cook extravagant feasts with friends, dream up new business ideas, go on adventures to new places  to find out more about the culture and language, or do pretty much anything that involves the ocean.

Previously Featured Members

Paulo Fisch
Thermal Team Lead - PhD in Robotics (CMU 2026). I first started working on MoonRanger in March 2020 and became Thermal Leader in July 2020. I led thermal development for MoonRanger and Iris ever since, running initial analyses, simulation, and testing. I have also led the Preliminary and Critical Design review efforts from a thermal perspective for MoonRanger. I have collaborated closely with Mechanical, Avionics, and Software to ensure all components are thermally safe from freezing or cooking by choosing surface finishes, designing blankets and thermal sinking of avionics, and by defining autonomy policies for thermal management. Previous to MoonRanger I worked in the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in Cologne with a hypersonic aircraft project in partnership with the European Space Agency. I love music and have been a musician for over 12 years. I play electric, acoustic, and bass guitar. I’m also a huge fan of cars and like to play tennis. Also, I love reading stories about previous space programs. The human side of sending robots and people to space is just outstanding.
Daniel Scher
Mechanical Team Lead - M.S. Mechanical Engineering - Research (CMU 2022), B.S. Mechanical Engineering (CMU 2021). I’ve been with MoonRanger’s mechanical team since Day 1 in August 2019 and transitioned to mechanical lead in December 2020. I led the fabrication and testing of MoonRanger’s Critical Design Review prototype, mobility testing, transition to flight maturity, and redesign of the chassis to accommodate sweeping changes in the avionics architecture. I’ve been integral to the design and fabrication of hardware for almost all major test campaigns on the program, including Morphin, perception testing, solar panel verification, and wheel module testing. Following completion of MoonRanger’s flight build, I will be starting work as a mechanisms engineer at SpaceX. I prefer music with near-incoherent lyrics played at 1.3x-2x speed and enjoy spontaneous long runs. Prior to the near-endless string of fabrication tasks provided by the MoonRanger program, I spent a great deal of time woodworking and woodturning. I’d like to return to crafting wood at some point while incorporating my experience with machined metal components.
Siri Maley
MoonRanger Systems Team Lead - MS Computational Design and Manufacturing (CMU 2021), MS Engineering and Technology Innovation Management (CMU 2017), BS Mechanical Engineering (Penn State 2015), BS Political Science (Penn State 2015). Namesake of the first American lunar robot (Iris). I joined Red’s lab in Spring 2017 by signing up for the 16-865 Space Robotics class and just never left. The opportunities here have been endless, starting with becoming mechanical lead and later project lead for CMU’s CubeRover development. The first flight rover from that effort, Iris, is named after me and currently waiting on its lunar lander for its 2022 mission. I also became the mechanical lead and then science and project lead for Red’s latest nuclear robots, PipeDream→RadPiper, which culminated in the first robotic inspection campaign approved by the Department of Energy to assay enriched uranium holdup deposits. I’m very excited to be seeing MoonRanger through to mission, as I wrote much of the original NASA proposal in 2019 and then rejoined the project in 2021 as the Systems Team lead. CMU and Red’s lab in particular have given me two funded graduate degrees, a full-time job, eight peer-reviewed publications, a patent, and a robot named after me on a lunar lander. I can’t wait to see where we go next!
Calvin Boyle
Designer, analyst and machinist. I joined MoonRanger in Fall 2020 while pursuing a Masters in Mechanical Engineering at CMU. Prior to my masters, I worked for two years as a mechanical engineer designing mass spectrometers and vacuum systems. I have helped MoonRanger through a deep redesign of primary structure, conducting analysis of sandwich panels, designing the chassis' aluminum stiffeners, and rebuilding the CAD many, many times. Following completion of my degree, I joined MoonRanger full time and led efforts in fastener selection, mechanism design and testing, procurement of flight hardware, and upgrading a vacuum chamber to TVAC capabilities. I love the rigor of designing hardware for the space environment where every decision must be made with intention and every detail considered. I am married to Heidi Schmidt and proud father of two cats. My next adventures will be with Millenium Space Systems.
Morgan Montalvo
I led MoonRanger’s mechanical development from day one through my 2-year masters program at CMU.
Varsha Kumar
I developed MoonRanger’s ability to sense and model terrain in the face of challenges like over-bright sunlight, absolute dark, and sensors located at such low height off the terrain. I started as a computer science undergrad, am now pursuing the MS, and have had the unique experience of being aboard MoonRanger from 2019 to today. The ideation, programming, design, testing, and flight build have been an experience of a lifetime. I look forward to the ultimate outcome of the robot and my technology fare on the Moon.
William (Red) L. Whittaker
I was first to conceive the robotic exploration of lunar ice a quarter century ago. A second and longer-standing vision was that small would be the next big thing in planetary robotics. It is fulfilling to see these visions come of age through MoonRanger. My satisfactions come from how robots contribute to the world. As the father of field robotics I’ve had a great run of it with robots that transformed farming, mining, construction, logistics, automotive automation and much more. The high frontier is my next frontier. MoonRanger’s contribution to the exploration and science of lunar ice would be a capstone of my life.
David Wettergreen
I am a research professor at the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University. My research focuses on robotic exploration: underwater, on the surface, and in air and space, and in the necessary ingredients of perception, planning, learning and control for robot autonomy