SIMOC is developed by a team of dynamic individuals spread across the United States, Canada, Vietnam, and Italy. We are creative, enthusiastic, and driven to produce this unique model of an off-world human habitat and scalable community. If you are keen to work with us, as a beta-tester or future developer, feel free to reach out.
Kai Staats, SIMOC Project Lead
Kai Staats is a veteran developer of platforms for research and science education. He was co-founder and CEO of the world-renowned Yellow Dog Linux operating system used extensively in Department of Energy, NASA, and University research across a full spectrum of desktop and supercomputer applications. Kai wrote the machine learning algorithm Karoo GP which has been used at LIGO for instrument characterization and synthetic supernovae detection; and was principal designer of the Mt. Meru Astronomical Observatory in Tanzania, the first of its kind in East Africa. At Arizona State University Kai led the development of SIMOC, a research-grade computer simulation and educational interface to a Mars habitat, hosted by National Geographic for citizen scientists everywhere. Now, Kai and his team are constructing SAM, a hi-fidelity, hermetically sealed Mars habitat analog with greenhouse, living quarters, airlock, pressure suits, and half acre Mars yard located at the iconic University of Arizona Biosphere 2.
Ezio Melotti, SIMOC Lead Developer
Ezio Melotti is a software engineer, instructor, and innovator, with almost 20 years of experience in software development and programming in several languages. Born in Milan, Italy he lived in Turku, Finland where he graduated from Turku University of Applied Sciences, where he instructed Python Programming. He is a CPython Core Developer with more than 1000 changesets contributed. He is the maintainer of the Python bug tracker and the HTML package, and did extensive work on the test suite, documentation, and standard library. Ezio brings to SIMOC a robust set of coding standards, documentation, and user interface aesthetics and functionality. His keen attention to detail is best expressed in his exquisite photography of the natural world.
Grant Hawkins, SIMOC Core Developer
Grant is a software engineer, researcher and entrepreneur who has been building ecosystem simulations since 2020. He led the expansion of the SIMOC plant model and the development of SIMOC-B2, both resulting in peer reviewed publications at ICES. Born in America, he received his BS in Business Management and Sustainability from the University of Minnesota in 2011, and has lived in Vietnam since 2015. He has a passion for learning and exploration, and has worked in renewable energy, real estate development, small-scale manufacturing, education, blockchain, and machine learning.
Ian Castellanos, SIMOC Developer
Graduate from ASU in Software Engineering. Currently working as IT Director for Manufacturing Soulutions, a PaaS for HVAC manufacturers. As an enjoyer of all things related to tech tech, he likes building computers, keyboards, and playing video games. In his free time, he likes powerlifting, playing drums, and spending time outside with his family of four.
Meridith Greythorne, SIMOC Developer
Meridith joined the team as a member of ASU’s Software Engineering Capstone program in 2021. Now a graduate with a BS in Software Engineering, she works as a RESTful API developer at a Seattle-based tech company. Meridith is constantly seeking new challenges and opportunities to grow as a developer, and she remains beyond thrilled to be part of a team as cool as SIMOC.
Greg Ross, SIMOC Developer
Greg began working with SIMOC as part of the Arizona State University capstone software design team in August of 2021, then later joined the team after the course. He volunteered at SAM during April of 2022, and has otherwise been part of the remote software development team. Greg has a Master of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Nevada in 2016.
Mason Robbins, SIMOC Education and Outreach Lead
Mason is a multi-disciplinary lifelong learner currently splitting time between the US and Europe, focused on leadership development, sustainability, STEM outreach, and organisational and project management in space. He has over 15 years of experience in industry, academia, and government. Previously, Mason was Head of Education, Innovation, and Crewed Spaceflight at SaxaVord Spaceport, UK, where he co-developed a STEAM outreach program that reached over 320,000 students worldwide. In addition to his work in space, Mason is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, holds a PhD in Science, Technology, and Innovation, an MBA in Executive Management, and various industry-related certifications, and is truly passionate about lacrosse!
Sheri Klug Boonstra, Navigator and Inspiration Lead
Sheri Klug Boonstra has worked for over a decade as the Director of the Arizona State University Mars Education Program within the Mars Space Flight Facility, School of Earth and Space Exploration. She is the formal education lead for the Mars Public Engagement Team at NASA JPL. The ASU Mars Education Program leads the formal education outreach efforts to K-16 teachers and students for all NASA’s missions to Mars. Sheri has been involved with NASA from 1995-2011, serves as the Education and Public Outreach Lead for the ASU Lunar Reconnaissance Camera Program and the ASU NASA Astrobiology Institute Team, and serves on the NASA Headquarters Science Mission Directorate and Advisory Council for Space Center Houston.
Christopher Murtagh, website and email server Systems Administrator
ASU Computer Science Capstone, 2021-22
Students: Ian Castellanos, Meridith Greythorne, Ryan Meneses, Gregory Ross, and David Wingar
ASU Computer Science Capstone, 2017-18
This is the team that got the whole thing going! From the very first conference call in September 2017 through May 2018 these enthusiastic, dedicated individuals worked from their remote locations to develop the original SIMOC concept into a working prototype. As noted above, Greg and Thomas were then contracted by Over the Sun by means of continued funding by the ASU Interplanetary Initiative into the spring of 2019.
Students: Thomas Curry, Yves Koulidiati, Ben McCord, Greg Schoberth, and Terry Turner
Former and Founding team members
Danny Jacobs, founding ASU Associate Lead
Judd Bowman, founding ASU Associate Lead
Don Boonstra, founding Education Lead (2018-2020)
Tyler Cox, Phase I prototype ABM Developer
Joey McCord, Phase II Environmental Systems Researcher
Sinéad Walsh, Phase III Developer
Iurii Milovanov, former Lead Developer (2018-20)
Bryan Versteeg, former Visual Designer (2019-21)