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Edward C. Stone, Visionary Physicist Behind NASA’s Voyager Mission, Dies at 88

Edward C. Stone, the visionary physicist who despatched NASA’s Voyager spacecraft to orbit the outer planets of our photo voltaic system and, for the primary time, probe additional to uncover interstellar mysteries, died Sunday at his house in Pasadena, California. He died on the age of 88 years. His demise was confirmed by his daughter Susan C. Stone.

Impressed by the launch of the Soviet satellite tv for pc Sputnik in 1957, when he was nonetheless a pupil, Dr. Stone then led the Voyager mission 20 years later for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, managed by the California Institute of Expertise for NASA.

Two probes, Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 had been launched individually in the summertime of 1977 from Cape Canaveral, Florida. Nearly 5 a long time later, the 2 are nonetheless persevering with their journey deep into house and persevering with to gather information.

Dr. Stone was this system’s chief venture scientist for 50 years, starting in 1972, when he was a 36-year-old physics professor at Caltech. He grew to become the general public face of the venture with a double launch in 1977.

Profiting from the essential conjunction of 4 planets that solely occurs as soon as each 176 years, the spacecraft handed Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.

The spacecraft produced the primary high-resolution pictures of the 4 planets, the rings of Jupiter, Uranus, and Neptune, lightning on Jupiter, and lava lakes that exposed lively volcanoes on Jupiter’s moon Io.

“On a mission of discovery,” mentioned Dr. Stone advised The New York Instances in 2002. “However we did not understand how a lot discovery there can be.”

In 2012, Voyager 1 grew to become the primary spacecraft to cross the boundary of the heliopause, the place violent photo voltaic winds of subatomic particles give rise to a different solar energy. Voyager 1 is at present estimated to be 15 billion miles from Earth and touring at 38,000 mph. Voyager 2 crossed the boundary into interstellar house in 2018.

Dr. A stone as soon as.

His management of the Voyager venture earned him the 1991 Nationwide Medal of Science from President George HW Bush.

As director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena from 1991 to 2001, Dr. Stone led the Mars Pathfinder mission and its Sojourner wheel rover; the orbital mission of the Galileo spacecraft to Jupiter; the launch of the Cassini probe to Saturn and its rings and satellites, a joint venture between NASA, the European Area Company, and the Italian Area Company; in addition to a brand new class of Earth science satellites.

Dr. Stone additionally served, from the late Eighties by way of the Nineties, as chairman of the California Society for Analysis in Astronomy, which constructed and operated the WM Keck Observatory in Hawaii.

In 2014, he grew to become the founding government director of the Worldwide Thirty Meter Observatory, additionally in Hawaii. He held the place till 2022, when he retired as Voyager’s chief scientist.

In a press release, Thomas F. Rosenbaum, president of Caltech, named Dr. Stone was “an ideal scientist, an ideal chief, and a gifted showman for discovery.”

Edward Carroll Stone Jr. He was born on January 23, 1936, in Knoxville, Iowa, southeast of Des Moines, and grew up close to Burlington, on the banks of the Mississippi River. His father, Edward Sr., owned a small building firm, and his mom, Ferne Elizabeth (Baber) Stone, took care of the books.

“Our father was a building supervisor who loved studying new issues and explaining how they labored,” wrote Dr. Stone acquired the 2019 Shaw Prize in Astronomy for his work on the Voyager mission.

He earned a bachelor of arts diploma in physics from Burlington Junior School (now Southeastern Group School) and earned grasp’s and doctoral levels from the College of Chicago.

Dr. Stone married Alice Trabue Wickliffe in 1962. His spouse died in 2023. Along with his daughter Susan, he’s survived by his different daughter, Janet Stone; and two grandchildren.

Shortly after beginning his graduate programs, information that the Soviets had launched a satellite tv for pc highlighted his curiosity within the physics of house exploration and, particularly, cosmic rays, particles that come from stars and which ‘ journey by way of the universe at shut vary.

Inspired by his doctoral supervisor, John A. Simpson, Dr. Stone carried out his first cosmic ray experiments in 1961 whereas engaged on Uncover 36, an Air Power spy satellite tv for pc.

He joined the Caltech school in 1964. As chairman of the college’s Division of Physics, Arithmetic and Astronomy, a place he held from 1983 to 1988, he helped set up the Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory, which found the then vibrations in house and time known as gravity waves.

Norman Haynes, Voyager’s chief venture supervisor for a few years, as soon as mentioned that Dr. Stone, for his scientific information and administration expertise, “reinvented the world of venture science.”

In 1990, Dr. Stone acknowledged the irony in his main venture – regardless of his discoveries, he wouldn’t see a conclusion earlier than his demise.

“I actually loved my time on Voyager,” he advised the New York Instances Journal, “even when I did not see the sting of the photo voltaic system, I’d do it once more.”

Dr. In the long run Stone was in a position to see the 2 spacecraft depart the photo voltaic system – twice.

“I’m wondering why there’s a lot public curiosity in house,” he mentioned. “Mainly, that is simply primary science. The reply is that it offers us a glimpse of the long run. After we cease on the lookout for new issues on the market, the idea of the long run will change. Area reminds us that there’s nonetheless one thing to be executed, that life will proceed to develop. It offers us route, an arrow in time.”

2024-06-14 23:37:26
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