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Memories of Bruce Murray

Personal stories of Planetary Society Members

Bruce Murray Head Shot

Bruce Murray Head Shot

One of the most remarkable minds of 20th century exploration, Planetary Society co-Founder Bruce C. Murray was stilled on, August 29, 2013 at the age of 81. The Planetary Society owes its existence to Bruce.  In fact every human and every robot now exploring the planets owes a debt to Bruce Murray. We were enriched by having known the man; the world of science and exploration is so much poorer for his loss.

We invite Members of The Planetary Society to share your memories of Dr. Murray or reflections on his impact on the course of space exploration with us.

We will share your stories with Dr. Murray's family.


by Martin Pfefferkorn Jr.

November 10, 2013

Thank You Mr. Murray for helping found The Society & giving us a way to unite foward & outward looking Citizens of the World. Thank you for insisting that we 'see' on every mission. May YOUR eyes now be able to take in the 'Entire' picture. ... more »

My Memories of Professor Bruce Murray

by Leonard Larks

October 28, 2013

Memories of Professor Bruce Murray My first memories of Dr. Murray were in regards to the Mariner to Venus and Mercury (Mariner 10) mission. Dr. Murray was the principle investigator of the science team for the visual imaging subsystem. I was an untried , unbuilt lens designer assigned to the visual imaging subsystem design team for Mariner 10 at JPL. The science team set the requirements for the performance of the visual imaging (television) subsystem, and it was up to the design team to meet the requirements. The lenses and telescopes designed for previous Mariner missions had been a commercial ... more »


by Bob Ware

October 23, 2013

By Wally Schirra's Mercury flight I was already seven years old. By time Mariner flew by Mars Dr. Murrays' bold demand for cameras added to my excessive desire to explore space.

Due to the formation of The Planetary Society he helped form, I can help in ways that were never possible prior to the Society coming into existence. Not just myself but all of the countless numbers of people who came to help in space exploration in some way or another. He has built a wonderful path for anyone to wander down and explore while directly or indirectly ... more »

Small gestures that alter careers

by Gregory Nelson

October 22, 2013

After taking his course on the planetary science of Mars, I had the good fortune to work as a Caltech undergrad in Bruce Murray's lab as a research assistant in 1973-1974. I was looking at the distribution of Mars wrinkle ridges in Mariner 9 data sets. Jurrie van der Woude helped me to understand the photo organization and data systems and I enjoyed pestering grad students Mike Malin and Rich Terrell with questions. They put up with me (a chemistry major) because I worked cheap. I also had the opportunity to help out on the Mariner ... more »

A Legacy Like No Other

by Ted Hartley

October 22, 2013

Bruce Murray's legacy will live for as long as we explore the universe. EVERY picture that we marvel at, learn from, or use as cmputer background or screen saver owes its existence to the demand that Dr. Murry placed on all missions to the planets. It must carry a camera. Every probe or rover that we send out to explore the universe sends home pictures just like we do when we visit any place. No matter if it is grandma's or the Grand Canyon we take pictures to commemorate the trip. With Dr. Murray's vision we are taking pictures of ... more »

Another Great Oak has Fallen

by Dave E. Matson

October 22, 2013

I never met Bruce Murray or knew the details of his work, but I did know that he was a giant in exploring the geology of our solar system. I sense that an era of space exploration is slipping into history. I salute the man and his accomplishments. ... more »

Photos worth a thousand words...

by Paul Wrege

October 21, 2013

One cannot underestimate Bruce's forsight to suggest we photograph every mission to the stars, let alone all of his other accomplishments! The incredible photographs stemmimg from his ideas light up young explorer's faces and direct their gazes heavenward. Once a young explorer looks up - the sky is limitless...the discoveries will be incredible... Thank you Bruce Murray! ... more »

Pictures to connect data

by Jon Alexandr

October 20, 2013

Providing pictures from spacecraft missions are the best and easiest way to connect the general public with scientific data. I did not know that Bruce Murray was instrumental in making this a "rule" of planetary exploration. Bravo to the legacy of Mr Murray! ... more »

Thank you

by Karl Gerds

October 20, 2013

If we as a race do not travel to the stars, then one day everything and everyone will disappear from existence. Thanks to you and other people of vision (who BTW inspire me and many others with more to give)I have hope that one day the human race will move beyond the pale blue dot that is our birth- place. We explore because that is what we are. Thanks for reminding us all of that. ... more »

Sailing on the Solar Void

by Larry B. Rice

October 20, 2013

Since September of 1981 I have looked to Carl Sagan and Bruce Murray for inspiration to be part of planetary exploration efforts and the Planetary Society's related Space efforts. I hope he continues to inspire others thru his efforts and the ideas of others in the Society. Thank you Bruce for all that you did ! ... more »

You Will Be Missed, Mr. Murray

by Jack R. Stewart

October 20, 2013

To me, Mr. Murray has brought space, science and a tremendous sense of belonging to a space-based group of people. He made space simple for the non-professional, average Joe-on-the-street. I know his efforts enticed and entertained the idea of space travel to a young generation. All of us in the Planetary Society will miss his presence, but his spirit will continue to drive us forward. May God keep Bruce in His loving arms. ... more »

A legacy we can all be grateful for...

by Denard Springle

October 20, 2013

I never had the opportunity to meet Bruce in person, but I know that my understanding of planetary science would be woefully inadequate without his many contributions, not the least of which was ensuring that the imagery of our solar system was of prime concern for all spacecraft. I cannot imagine what planetary science would be like without this imagery, and neither could Bruce. I am eternally grateful to him for this understanding and for compelling his peers to ensure imagery was a primary concern in all missions.

While we could focus on this one primary detail, however, I also feel ... more »

Trail for Future Voyagers

by Bill Garber

October 20, 2013

Bruce was just taking over the helm at JPL when I was leaving for another aerospace position in 1976. He had great vision and charted the trail for future Voyagers with his vision and leadership! Thanks, Bruce! ... more »

In Memoriam

by Miguel Marin

October 20, 2013

Thanks Bruce ... more »

Here, Moon!

by David Fafarman

October 19, 2013

My mother used to tell me that my first words (at about age 2) were, "Here, Moon!" So, my interest in astronomy goes back quite a ways ... ;-) I never met Bill Murray, but I want to express my immense gratitude to him for the wonderful images from the space program that have enriched all of our lives. Saturn especially -- from time to time I think of how Galileo was mystified by the image of Saturn in his primitive telescope -- unimaginable! It really makes me wonder what we may be looking at, uncomprehending, today. Thank you ... more »

appreciation for Bruce Murray's legacy

by Doug Currie

October 19, 2013

Although I was sad to hear of the passing away of Bruce Murray recently I was glad to hear of his legacy of initiating more imaging capability on planetary spacecraft. That is one thing that I find most inspiring of interplanetary missions including with the increasing resolution or of new places. I feel this way in general but also in the pages of the Planetary Society's magazine The Planetary Report. I also appreciate Bruce Murray's part in helping to make the Planetary Society as a leading voice in Washington in support of exploring the heavens. Doug Currie Hamilton Ontario Canada Saturday, October ... more »

HIs Contribution made my life worthwhile

by David Myers

October 19, 2013

I didn't know Bruce nor even how important he was to our exploration of space - and to me personally. I have been a dreamer all my life - about space and our solar system in particular. Being able to live long enough to see all that we have discovered about our solar system (and our universe) has been a great and wonderful gift to me and being the highly visually focused person that I am, space photography (of all kinds) has had the greatest impact on my appreciation of my and our species place in time and ... more »

The Journey Starts

by Bill Campbell

October 19, 2013

Bruce. It was your vision and partnership with Carl Sagan that embedded my interst in astronomy. Thank you for helping to form TPS, and making it easy for all to start an interactive journey that enabled so many to help steer space policy and direction. I remember the letter I received asking me to join TPS in 1980. Been a member since. God bless you and your family. Bill Campbell Calgary Canada. ... more »

In the shadow of greatness.

by Melvyn Emanuel.

October 19, 2013

I never knew the man, but felt his effect through my membership of the Planetary Society.That he made such an impact during his sojourn on Earth is one of the wondrous aspects of those who do. Losing his presence is sad, but that he was here is to be celebrated. ... more »

From Pari Spolter

by Pari Spolter

October 19, 2013

My condolences to Bruce Murray's family and coworkers. ... more »

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