The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Hyers Serves on Vital Steering Committee for NASA’s Future Direction

Robert Hyers

Robert Hyers

The National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine has announced that Professor Robert W. Hyers of the Mechanical and Industrial Engineering Department was one of 18 distinguished academics appointed to the steering committee of the Decadal Survey on Biological and Physical Sciences Research in Space 2023-2032, which will create “a vision and strategy” for NASA’s future direction.

The announcement by the National Academies said that the committee “will review the state of knowledge in the current and emerging areas of space-related biological and physical sciences research.”

In addition, the announcement explained that the committee “will also generate consensus recommendations for a comprehensive vision and strategy for a decade of transformative science at the frontiers of biological and physical sciences research in space. The study report will help NASA define and align biological and physical sciences research to uniquely advance scientific knowledge, meet human and robotic exploration mission needs, and provide terrestrial benefits.”

According to the “Statement of Task” issued by the National Academies as a charge to the committee, the steering group has been formed to “identify the most compelling science challenges and frontiers to be pursued …that will enable scientific discovery, address the needs of space exploration, and/or result in applications on Earth.”

In addition, the statement said, the committee will “develop a comprehensive research strategy to advance the frontiers of biological and physical sciences research in space that will include identifying, recommending, and ranking the highest priority research activities.”

Hyers is a principal scientist and owner of RHA Materials, LLC, which offers contract research and consulting on materials processing and properties to the government and academic institutions as well as private businesses.

Previously, Hyers was president and chief technology officer of the Boston Electrometallurgical Corporation and a staff scientist at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center/Electrostatic Levitation Lab.

Hyers’ research includes high-temperature materials, condition monitoring, and prognosis of structures, as well as physics-based modeling of materials processing and failure.

Hyers earned a Ph.D. in materials engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. (September 2021)