Rovers Honor Bruce Murray with Mars Landmarks

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Veteran Mars rover Opportunity has honored the memory of Bruce Murray, naming a high ridge on the western rim of Endeavour Crater after him. On the other side of the planet, NASA’s newest roving mission Curiosity has also remembered the planetary scientist. Murray was manager of NASA’s earliest missions to Mars and influential director of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in Pasadena, from 1976 to 1982. Murray died earlier this year at the age of 81.

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Opportunity is currently climbing “Murray Ridge,” a 40 meter high hill on Endeavour’s rim above the surrounding plain, Meridiani Planum. Meanwhile, over in Gale Crater, Curiosity is roving toward Mount Sharp (Aeolis Mons), aimed at “Murray Buttes,” an entryway to its ultimate destination.

“Bruce Murray contributed both scientific insight and leadership that laid the groundwork for interplanetary missions such as robotic missions to Mars, including the Mars rovers, part of America’s inspirational accomplishments.” said NASA Mars Exploration Program Manager Fuk Li in a JPL news release. “It is fitting that the rover teams have chosen his name for significant landmarks on their expeditions.”

For more about Murray’s legacy and the Mars rovers’ tributes, see the JPL news release.

Image: Opportunity looks up at Murray Ridge. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech