A statement from the Planetary Society
All of us at the Planetary Society are deeply saddened by the passing of planetary scientist Michael Drake. He has been a pillar of the planetary science community for four decades. He was Director the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory at the University of Arizona and a Regents' Professor there, and he was the recipient of numerous scientific awards and honors.
"In addition to being a great friend of the Society, Mike was also a premier planetary scientist and cosmochemist," said Planetary Society President Jim Bell. "He was widely respected as among the world's leading authorities on the compositions of the Earth and other planets."
Currently, the Planetary Society is working as an educational outreach partner on the OSIRIS-REx mission, on which Mike was the Principal Investigator. The mission, which will return samples from an asteroid that could hold clues to the origins of life on Earth, was selected by NASA earlier this year and stands as a testament to Mike's scientific curiosity and research.
"The Planetary Society has worked with Mike on and off for many years, and we feel both personal and professional loss," said Planetary Society Director of Projects Bruce Betts. "He was not only a great scientist, but also someone who worked hard to share the excitement of space exploration with the public."
We pass along best wishes and condolences to his family and friends. He will be missed.
More information about Michael Drake can be found at the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory website.