Kurt W. Leucht, EE’94, has been working at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Merritt Island, Fla., for 25 years and has been writing software for large and small projects ever since.
One project is research and development of in-situ resource utilization, or ISRU, which means living off the land while exploring another planetary body. It could mean planting potatoes on Mars or extracting hydrogen and oxygen molecules from Martian soil. Leucht developed monitoring and control software for the project.
“ISRU is hot in the news right now,” he says. “And robotics are always hot in the news, it seems.”
He’s also the principal investigator on a project that created a swarm of small, lightweight, inexpensive mobile robots, called Swarmies, that are programed to behave like ants to seek and collect resources in an unknown environment.
And he’s the lead software engineer for a robotic excavator, the regolith advanced surface systems operations robot, or RASSOR.