The Shoemakers became world famous following their March, 1993 discovery, with colleague David Levy, of a comet that came to be called Shoemaker-Levy 9. The comet broke into many fragments and crashed into Jupiter in the fall of 1994, creating one of the most memorable astronomical spectacles of all time.
However, Gene Shoemaker's real claim to fame was his pioneering research on the formation of impact craters on the moon as well as earth and other planetary bodies, and his discovery of numerous earth-crossing asteroids and comets. Together with his wife, Shoemaker is credited with discovering over 800 asteroids and is considered the leading discoverer of comets in this century.
From the time he was a teenager, Shoemaker wanted to go to the moon as an astronaut. He told friends that his inability to qualify for astronaut training, due to a health ailment, was the major disappointment of his life. But in the eyes of his colleagues, he more than made up for that by helping to design the way in which moon exploration was conducted. Shoemaker is considered one of the founders of the new discipline of astrogeology.
Gene and Carolyn Shoemaker were in central Australia to study impact craters when the auto accident occurred. Gene Shoemaker was 69.
Original file name: CNI - Gene Shoemaker dies
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