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Eugene Merle Shoemaker
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    (April 28, 1928-July 18, 1997)
    Born in Los Angeles, California
    Pioneer of planetary science
    Founded the Astrogeology Research Program of the US Geological Survey (1961)
    Co-discoverer (with wife Carolyn Shoemaker and David Levy) of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 (March 24, 1993)
    Shoemaker-Levy 9 later broke up and collided with Jupiter (July 16-22, 1994)
    Recipient of the National Medal of Science (1992)
    Died in a car accident while studying meteor craters in Australia
    He was considered as a candidate for the Apollo missions, but was disqualified due to Addison's disease.
    He later left NASA 'out of deep concern for its direction,' complaining that the scientific results of the Apollo program could have been obtained at a fifth the cost by using unmanned probes. (Anyone else detecting more than a hint of sour grapes?)
    He and his team discovered Shoemaker-Levy 9 by accident while studying near-Earth objects.
    The capsule that took his ashes to space was engraved with an image of Comet Hale-Bopp. (Wouldn't an image of Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 have been a more logical tribute?)
    He provided training in geology for the Apollo astronauts.
    He sat beside Walter Cronkite providing scientific commentary during the moon landings.
    He reached the Moon posthumously when a capsule containing some of his cremated remains was included in the Lunar Prospector probe, which crashed into the Moon at the end of its mission (1999).
    NASA called it 'a special honor for a special human being.'

Credit: C. Fishel

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