Bruce Murray 1931 – 2013
On Thursday August 30th, 2013 the world lost one of the most important scientists. A man called Bruce Murray who died at the age of 81 from Alzheimer’s disease. He is most famously known as the director for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California. It’s amazing and inspiring to know that Bruce Murray was the man behind the successful Viking landings on Mars, the Voyager 1 and 2 missions, as well as the Galileo mission to Jupiter and Magellan to Venus. Bruce Murray was also dubbed the “Admiral of the Solar System” by Discovery magazine. Interestingly Bruce Murray never set out to be a planetary explorer. He went to MIT through a ROTC program then got his PhD in Geology. He served sometime in the U.S airforce then went to Caltech where he started observing the Moon. Most geologists were focusing on the Moon at that time since there was much to be discovered.
Bruce was very influential to the space program. One story is in the early days of NASA many physicists felt that taking photos on the spacecraft and sending the data back would be too stressful for the instruments and not worth it. Bruce had fought them on this and made a case for it. If it wasn’t for Bruce we wouldn’t have seen so many wonderful images Voyager 1 or 2 sent us as well as the other various missions. Bruce Murray was born in 1931 and died this year or 2013. He will always be remembered and his torch will be passed on to many of us space enthusiasts as well as everyday people. It’s a sad day but we will always remember him as a space pioneer.