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Fri Mar 29 13:25:58 PDT 2019

Volume XXVI, Issue 21


Table of Contents

1. Passing of Richard Hartle


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Passing of Richard Hartle

From: Michael Collier (michael.r.collier at nasa.gov)

NASA Heliophysicist Richard Hartle passed away on the evening of 19 February 2019 at the age of 82. Upon graduating with his Ph.D. in Physics from Pennsylvania State University in 1964, Dr. Hartle spent three years as a National Academy of Sciences Resident Research Associate (now called the NPP program) at NASA Ames in northern California after which he took a position in the Planetary Atmospheres Laboratory at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. Dr. Hartle enjoyed a long career, about 45 years, at GSFC where he rose to become the Head of the Planetary Atmospheres Branch from 1991-1995. In the latter part of his career, Dr. Hartle took a keen interest in the resurgence of the lunar program and was an active member of the Dynamic Response of the Environment at the Moon (DREAM) virtual institute devoted to research related to the moon and its interaction with the space environment.

Dr. Hartle and his coworkers of that era made fundamental discoveries over a prodigious range of subjects laying the groundwork for much of our current research, both observational and theoretical, in solar wind physics and the atmospheres and ionospheres of Venus, Mercury, Jupiter, Saturn and its moon Titan, and Jupiter. Dr. Hartle authored a 1968 paper with Peter Sturrock entitled “2-fluid model of solar wind” that has been cited an amazing 218 times, and is still being cited today. He is an author on twelve publications in the prestigious journal Science covering plasma observations at Venus, Saturn, and Uranus and atmospheric composition at Jupiter. His 1982 paper on Titan’s ion exosphere using Voyager 1 flyby data has been referenced nearly 150 times while, in a couple of 2006 papers, he reported never before observed ion beams of CH4+ and N2+ escaping Titan’s atmosphere as well as keV O+ fluxes bombarding Titan’s upper atmosphere. In 2010, Dr. Hartle’s prediction of large ionospheric outflows down Titan’s induced magnetotail was confirmed in a paper by a team led by Dr. Edward Sittler. 

Dr. Hartle was a true leader in the scientific community. Those of us who had the privilege of knowing and working with Dr. Hartle will always remember him fondly. He will be missed.


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