[Congressional Record Volume 143, Number 106 (Thursday, July 24, 1997)]
[Extensions of Remarks]
[Pages E1508-E1509]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]



                       HON. GEORGE E. BROWN, JR.

                             of california

                    in the house of representatives

                        Thursday, July 24, 1997

  Mr. BROWN of California. Mr. Speaker, we have all been enthralled by 
the exciting images we have been receiving from the Mars Pathfinder 
since its successful landing on the 4th of July. I think that we all 
would join in congratulating the team of scientists, engineers, and 
managers who made this amazing mission a reality.
  Yet as we celebrate another success in the ongoing exploration of 
space, I believe that we also need to pause to honor the memory of two 
individuals who are no longer with us, but who have done much to help 
us better understand our solar system: Dr. Eugene Shoemaker and Dr. 
Jurgen Rahe. We had just begun to come to terms with the tragic loss 
last December of Dr. Carl Sagan, the distinguished astronomer and 
advocate for scientific reason, and now we have lost two more gifted 
space scientists. We mourn their deaths, but we also celebrate their 
  Dr. Shoemaker was a distinguished geologist and discoverer or co-
discoverer of some 820 asteroids and comets. Perhaps his most famous 
discovery was that of the Shoemaker-Levy Comet, which was discovered by 
him, his wife Carolyn, and Mr. David Levy. I was that comet's 
spectacular collision with the planet Jupiter that stirred public 
interest in the possibility of comets or asteroids someday impacting 
the Earth with disastrous consequences.
  However, Dr. Shoemaker had long been concerned with the potential for 
such impacts from his earliest days as a scientist when he was able to 
demonstrate that Arizona's meteor crater was likely the result of an 
impact by an asteroid. Throughout his career, he did much to increase 
public and scientific awareness of the potential threat posed by Earth 
orbit-crossing asteroids and comets, and he was a tireless champion of 
the need to detect and catalog those objects. I had come to rely on his 
insights and vision as Congress has attempted to come to grips with the 
public policy implications of a phenomenon that has a low probability 
of occurrence but that carries severe consequences for life on Earth. I 
shall miss him.
  Dr. Rahe was also a distinguished scientist and a leading figure in 
NASA's solar system exploration program. I think that his impact on 
NASA's activities was well stated by Dr. Wesley Huntress, NASA's 
Associate Administrator for Space Science, when he said that under Dr. 
Rahe's leadership, ``NASA's planetary exploration program was 
experiencing an almost unparalleled period of major discoveries at the 
same time that a number of new missions were being started and 
launched. His legacy to the exploration of space is large, and I like 
to think that Jurgen's ideas, hopes, and dreams are aboard many of the 
spacecraft now headed to the frontiers of our Solar System.''
  Both of these men were outstanding individuals in their profession. 
However, each also was a man with a strong sense of integrity and a 
love of life and of learning. Dr. Shoemaker and Dr. Rahe made the world 
a better place, and I know that all Members join me in expressing our 
deep sympathy to their families.
  I include herewith obituaries of these two great scientists.

             Eugene Shoemaker Dies; Discovered Giant Comet

       Phoenix.--Eugene Shoemaker, 69, the geologist-astronomer 
     who warned about the dangers of asteroids hitting Earth and 
     who helped discover the giant Shoemaker-Levy 9 comet that 
     slammed into Jupiter in 1994, died July 18 of injuries 
     suffered in a car crash in outback Australia. He lived in 
     Flagstaff, Ariz.
       His wife, fellow Lowell Observatory astronomer Carolyn 
     Shoemaker, suffered hip and chest injuries in the crash but 
     was in stable condition at a hospital, authorities said. The 
     car they were riding in collided head-on with another car on 
     a dirt road about 310 miles north of Alice Springs, 
     authorities said.
       Dr. Shoemaker and his wife had discovered about 20 comets 
     and 800 asteroids, but they were best known for the discovery 
     with amateur astronomer David Levy of the comet Shoemaker-
     Levy 9, which broke up and smashed into Jupiter's gaseous 
     atmosphere in 1994. The team had been searching the sky for 
     new comets.
       It was Dr. Shoemaker's fascination with asteroid impacts--
     such as the one that caused a Meteor Crater near his home--
     that drove most of his work.
       A geologist by training, he was a leading expert on craters 
     and the interplanetary collisions that caused them. He first 
     proved to the scientific community that Meteor Crater was 
     indeed the result of an asteroid impact, said University of 
     Arizona planetary scientist Larry Lebofsky.
       He also was the author of an influential paper in the early 
     1960s comparing Meteor Crater with a large crater on the 
       Dr. Shoemaker, a Los Angeles native, was a 1947 graduate of 
     the California Institute of Technology. He received a 
     doctorate in geology from Princeton University. He worked for 
     the U.S. Geological Survey from 1948 until retiring in 1993.

[[Page E1509]]

       He founded the U.S. Geological Survey's Center of 
     Astrogeology in Flagstaff in 1961 and served as the center's 
     chief scientist. He also was involved in several U.S. space 
     missions, including the Apollo moon missions. He lectured the 
     Apollo astronauts on such topics as craters.
       Dr. Shoemaker, who had wanted to be an astronaut but was 
     rejected because of a medical problem, said in a 1996 
     interview that he hoped for more manned space missions soon--
     to nearby asteroids, if not to the planet Mars.
       ``I don't think I will live long enough to see us get to 
     Mars,'' Dr. Shoemaker said.
       In addition to his wife, 67, Dr. Shoemaker's survivors 
     include two daughters, Linda Salazar and Christine Woodward 
     of Los Angeles; and a son, Patrick, of Iowa.

   NASA Mourns Dr. Jurgen H. Rahe, Solar System Exploration Science 
                            Program Director

       Dr. Jurgen H. Rahe, 57, Science Program Director for 
     Exploration of the Solar System at NASA Headquarters, 
     Washington, DC, died tragically June 18 in the Washington, 
     DC, area. Dr. Rahe was killed during a severe storm when a 
     large tree fell on his car as he was driving near his home in 
     Potomac, MD.
       Dr. Rahe had a distinguished career in NASA and in the 
     field of astronomy and space exploration. In his most recent 
     position, he was responsible for overall general management, 
     budget, and strategic planning for NASA's Solar System 
     Exploration programs, including the Galileo mission to 
     Jupiter and several upcoming missions to Mars, including the 
     July 4, 1997, landing of Mars Pathfinder.
       ``I am shocked and deeply saddened by the loss of Jurgen 
     Rahe. He was a good friend and an extremely dedicated 
     scientist,'' said Dr. Wesley T. Huntress, Jr., Associate 
     Administrator for NASA's Office of Space Science, Washington, 
     DC. ``Under his leadership NASA's planetary exploration 
     program was experiencing an almost unparalleled period of 
     major discoveries at the same time that a number of new 
     missions were being started and launched. His legacy to the 
     exploration of space is large, and I like to think that 
     Jurgen's ideas, hopes, and dreams are aboard many of the 
     spacecraft now headed to the frontiers of our Solar System.''
       As a member of the Office of Space Science Board of 
     Directors, Rahe also was responsible for the upcoming 
     Cassini/Huygens mission to Saturn. NASA's low-cost Discovery 
     missions and several upcoming missions to Mars. Dr. Rahe also 
     was the editor of one scientific journal (``Astrophysics and 
     Space Science'') and a member of the editorial board of two 
     others (``Earth, Moon, and Planets'' and ``II Nuovo 
       Dr. Rahe previously served as a Discipline Scientist, Chief 
     Scientist for Planetary Astronomy, and Director of the Solar 
     System Exploration Division at NASA Headquarters. Before 
     joining Headquarters full-time in 1989, Dr. Rahe was a Staff 
     Member at the California Institute of Technology/Jet 
     Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA. He has also served as 
     the Co-Leader of the International Halley Watch; Co-
     Investigator on the European space Agency's Giotto mission; 
     Program Scientist for the Clementine, Rosetta, and NEAR (Near 
     Earth Asteroid Rendezvous) missions; and as the Associate 
     Program Scientist for the Hubble Space Telescope.
       Previously, he was a Professor of Astronomy and Director at 
     the Astronomical Institute of the University Erlangen-
     Nuremberg (Germany). During his tenured professorship, Dr. 
     Rahe worked for extended periods as a Visiting Professor in 
     several different countries. He has published many papers in 
     scientific journals and books, edited more than a dozen books 
     and conference proceedings, and served as President and/or 
     member of three International Astronautical Union committees. 
     He also served previously as the Director of the Remeis 
     Observatory in Bamberg, Germany.
       Rahe is survived by his wife and daughter, who live in 
     Potomac, MD.