Roger J. Phillips
Roger J. Phillips succeeded Robert M. Walker as Center Director in 1999 and served until 2007. Professor Phillips, who earned his PhD in 1968 from the University of California, Berkeley, worked at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), and then took over as director of the Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI) in 1979. He later took a faculty position at Southern Methodist University, and in 1992 came to Washington University. In 2008, he retired from Washington University and moved to Colorado where he was affiliated with the Southwest Research Institute and continued his research. He died on November 19, 2020.
Professor Phillips was known for his work on the geophysical characteristics and interior structure of solid planets, beginning with the interior structure of the Moon and later expanding his research to Venus, Mars, and Mercury. He was involved in numerous exploration missions including the Apollo Lunar Sounder Experiment, Apollo 17; the Magellan mission to Venus; the Mars Global Surveyor mission; the Shallow Radar (SHARAD) experiment on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter; the MESSENGER mission to Mercury; and the GRAIL mission to the Moon.
Comments from Director Phillips about the space sciences:
“This generation's initial probing beyond our planet with unmanned spacecraft and human explorers is a major turning point in history, fundamentally changing the boundary conditions of human existence. We have taken only the first small steps; the exploration of space will continue as long as humanity exists. The first American in space and the first American in Earth orbit made their flights in spacecraft designed and built in St. Louis. The McDonnell Center is privileged to help carry on this tradition of space exploration. We look forward to the future with enthusiasm and immense curiosity.”