I liked to make him laugh. It could seem incongruous, hearing this great guffaw come from a man who often carefully considered his words, who spoke with enormous power, and whose physical presence some found intimidating. But that great and easy laugh was a window into the mind and heart of the real Bruce Murray. You can judge for yourself when you hear it in this week’s special Planetary Radio tribute to the Society’s former Chairman and President.
I last saw Bruce when he attended one of our Planetary Radio Live events last year. He sat, quietly smiling, as I talked with guests on stage. His last actual appearance on Planetary Radio, one of many I’ve collected on this week’s show page, was in 2009. It was an especially enjoyable conversation, largely because one of his protégés joined us. Dr. Murray’s quick wit skewered Bruce Betts several times, to the delight of his former PhD student.
Though we knew it was coming, Bruce Murray’s passing hit many of us hard. We have lost one of the brightest lights in the solar system, someone who used his light to illuminate other worlds, to inspire a new generation of planetary scientists, and to fight for exploration--quite possibly the greatest of human endeavors. We best honor him, Carl Sagan and countless others by keeping exploration and the quest for knowledge among the most sacred of human imperatives.