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Contact: Douglas Isbell, 818-354-8999
July 5, 1997
EMBARGOED UNTIL 3 P.M. PACIFIC DAYLIGHT TIME
NASA RENAMES MARS LANDER IN HONOR OF LATE CARL SAGAN
NASA honored the legacy of Dr. Carl Sagan today when
Administrator Daniel S. Goldin named the Mars Pathfinder lander
the Carl Sagan Memorial Station.
"Carl Sagan was a very unique individual who helped young
and old alike to dream about the future and the possiblities it
may hold," Goldin said. "Carl always liked to push the
boundaries too, and the Mars Pathfinder mission, with its rover
named Sojourner, clearly has done that. Even its very first
images contain an array of fascinating scientific questions that
he would have loved to debate. We will explore the area with his
memory in mind."
Goldin made the announcement at Planetfest '97 in Pasadena,
CA, an event organized by the Planetary Society, the public space
interest group that Sagan founded with Bruce Murrary and Lou
Friedman in 1980.
Sagan played a leading role in NASA's Mariner, Viking,
Voyager and Galileo expeditions to other planets. He has received
NASA Medals for Exceptional Scientific Achievement and twice for
Distinguished Public Service, and the NASA Apollo Achievement
Award. Sagan died on December 20, 1996, at age 62.
The naming is reminiscent of the memorial dedication of the
Mars Viking Lander 1 in January 1981 to Dr. Thomas Mutch, a NASA
associate administrator for space science and former leader of
the Viking Lander Imaging Science Team, who died on October 7,
1980, while climbing in the Himalayas.