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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Michael Drake, head of LPL, dies at age 65


Michael Drake, director of the UA Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, died on Wednesday at the University of Arizona Medical Center — University Campus. The cause of his death has not yet been disclosed.

Drake, 65, came to the UA in 1973 and began serving as the director of the laboratory and head of the Department of Planetary Sciences in 1994. Drake was also the principal investigator for the OSIRIS-REx mission, which is set to launch in 2016 and return with asteroid samples in 2023. The money secured for the UA’s role in the project is the largest grant the university has ever received.

As head of the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, Drake oversaw a series of high-profile projects at the laboratory, including the HiRISE camera on the NASA Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, the Cassini image mission in orbit around Saturn and the Phoenix Mars Lander project.

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