Bruce C. Murray
|Died||August 29, 2013 (aged 81)|
Oceanside, California, U.S.
|Alma mater||MIT - Ph.D. geology (1955)|
(divorced; 3 children)
Murray received his Ph.D. in geology from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1955 and joined Standard Oil of California as a geologist. He served in the United States Air Force as a geophysicist[clarification needed], and the U.S. Civil Service[clarification needed] before joining California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in 1960.
Murray began working at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory(managed by/affiliated with Caltech) in 1960, and served as its director from April 1, 1976 to June 30, 1982. He was an important force in promoting the recruitment and hiring of female engineers at the lab, where more women are employed today than any other NASA facility. Murray became JPL's director at a time when space exploration budgets were shrinking; among other achievements, he saved the Galileo mission to Jupiter from the budget axe.
Murray worked out the geologic history of Mars using photographs taken by Mariner 4 in 1965; he worked with Bob Leighton to accomplish this task. He applied similar photographic analysis when he served as chief scientist of Mariner 10. As he took over management of JPL, he expressed reservations about the Viking lander program, pointing out that the biological experiments included with the spacecraft were not sufficient to accomplish their stated goals.
Murray was twice married. With his first wife, Joan O'Brien, he had three children. Murray and O'Brien divorced in 1970. In 1971, Murray married Suzanne Murray, with whom he had two children.
Murray was the recipient of the 1997 Carl Sagan Memorial Award.
In 2004, Murray was awarded the Telluride Tech Festival Award of Technology in Telluride, Colorado.
On November 13, 2013, NASA announced the names of two features on Mars important to two active Mars exploration rovers in honor of Murray: "Murray Ridge", an uplifted crater that the Opportunity rover was exploring; and "Murray Buttes", an entryway the Curiosity rover had to traverse on its way to Mount Sharp.