Professor receives posthumous award for outstanding service to planetary science

Ron Greeley

Late professor Ronald Greeley, a planetary scientist at Arizona State University until his death in 2011, is the 2013 recipient of the Harold Masursky Award for outstanding service to planetary science and exploration. The prize is named after the distinguished geologist and astronomer Harold Masursky (1922-1990), who investigated planetary and lunar surfaces, with a primary interest in finding scientifically valuable landing places.

The Masursky Award was established by the Division for Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society to recognize and honor individuals who have rendered outstanding service to planetary science and exploration through engineering, managerial, programmatic or public service activities. Greeley is the twentieth recipient of the Masursky Award and the first from Arizona State University.

Greeley was involved in nearly every major space probe mission flown in the solar system since the Apollo missions to the Moon, including the Galileo mission to Jupiter, Magellan mission to Venus, Voyager 2 mission to Uranus and Neptune, and shuttle imaging radar studies of Earth. Passionate about Mars exploration, he was involved with several missions to the Red Planet, including Mariners 6, 7 and 9; Viking; Mars Pathfinder; Mars Global Surveyor; and the Mars Exploration rovers. He was a co-investigator for the High Resolution Stereo Camera on the European Mars Express mission.

Greeley was a Regents' Professor of planetary geology at ASU in the School of Earth and Space Exploration until his death on Oct. 27, 2011. He received his doctorate in geology in 1966 from the University of Missouri at Rolla. Through service in the U.S. Army, he was assigned to NASA’s Ames Research Center in 1967, where he trained astronauts and helped prepare for the Apollo missions to the moon. After his military service ended, he remained at NASA Ames to conduct research in planetary geology. Greeley joined the faculty at ASU in 1977 with a joint professorship in the Department of Geology and the Center for Meteorite Studies.

The Harold Masursky Award will be accepted by Greeley’s widow, Cynthia Greeley, at the 45th annual Division for Planetary Sciences meeting in Denver, Colo., Oct. 6-11.

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