RIP Bruce Murray, the man behind all those pictures of planets we love. This former director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory was the driving force behind photographic exploration of the solar system. What was once considered fluff is now a key part of any mission, from the ISS to the Curiosity rover. Imagine life without panoramic views of the Martian surface, or the Pale Blue Dot. I can’t.
From the LA Times obituary:
"…taking pictures became a key part of planetary exploration. The pictures did more than advance scientific knowledge of the solar system — they made the other planets seem real and fascinating to the American public."
Murray delivered a warning about the future priorities of space flight in a 1981 interview with Discover magazine, and those words still ring true:
"We’re sitting here watching the coffin being nailed shut, and what’s inside is imagination and vision."
Source: Los Angeles Times