(tribute written by Phil James, Jim Bell, Todd Clancy, and Steve Lee)
We regret to report that Leonard Martin, a long time member of the planetary sciences community, passed away suddenly and unexpectedly on April 7, 1997.
Just as Lowell Observatory is instinctively associated with the study of Mars, over the last two decades Mars research at Lowell was synonymous with Leonard Martin. Leonard began his observational career in the International Planetary Patrol, a globe-circling network of observatories which provided continuous photographic monitoring of Mars near its oppositions. During the late 1970's, Leonard coordinated ground based observations with several Viking global imaging sequences, revealing detailed structures for clouds and albedo features detected telescopically. As interest in Mars waned following Viking, Leonard was able to preserve Lowell's photographic record of Mars oppositions with the support of the National Geographic Society and continued the series of airbrushed albedo maps produced in collaboration with USGS. For the last several oppositions Leonard directed a series of multispectral CCD observations at Lowell Observatory, the most recent of which were obtained in February.
Although Leonard was a firm believer in the value of the historical record in providing a context for interpretation of spacecraft images, he always emphasized the temporal and geographical limitations and biases of telescopic as well as spacecraft data. He liked to have time to savor and assimilate new observations and was happiest professionally when he was pouring over Viking images or sets of telescopic photos. Such activities led at one time to his discovery of an unexpected group of dust storms in Echus Chasma and, later, to his careful compilation of the historical record of dust activity on Mars. Since 1990 Leonard was heavily involved in Hubble Space Telescope Mars observations and contributed to several discoveries based on the WFPC images. Leonard's many papers based on the photographic record revealed to many of us (whose impressions of Mars were derived mainly from spacecraft images) that the planet is a changing, dynamic system and that observations of a small group of years, however detailed, did not reveal its entire nature. His quiet, but persistent voice lent a tone of reality to many "Mars debates," and his contributions invariably helped to advance our understanding of Mars. His encouragement and mentoring of younger colleagues started many of us on our way to careers in Mars research.
Leonard Martin finally was forced to surrender his active role at Lowell Observatory early this year because of health problems. He and his wife, Claudia, moved to Bend, Oregon, where the elevation and climate would be more beneficial to his health and he would still be able to participate in his favorite avocation, skiing. He was not giving up on active participation in HST and other programs, however, and was in the process of establishing Internet connectivity in Bend in order to preserve his active participation in Mars research.
His familiarity with diverse groups of Mars data was unmatched, and his role in the community will not be easily filled. He was the last of a prestigious chain of telescopic observers of Mars at Lowell, and "his like will not soon be seen again." Leonard Martin will be deeply missed by all of us who were privileged to know and work with him.
Leonard Martin's Obituary can
be found at: Millis