Subject: [DPS Members] DPS Mailing #08-27: Steve Ostro

Issue 08-27, December 16th 2008
DPS Web site:

1) In Memoriam: Steven J. Ostro



We are very sorry to report the news that pioneering JPL radar
astronomer Steve Ostro died early on the morning of Monday December
15th. The following appreciation is based on a note sent by Bonnie
Buratti to Steve's Cassini colleagues.

Steve was a luminary in the field of Radar Astronomy, and received the
DPS Kuiper prize in 2003 for his groundbreaking work in asteroid and
satellite radar studies. Steve's seminal work on the surface
properties of the Galilean satellites - which he was extending to the
Cassini Radar data he was gathering and analyzing up to a few days
before he died - led to the development of new models to explain how
electromagnetic radiation interacts with ice. He and his colleague
Lance Benner almost single handedly established the field of radar
studies of Near Earth Objects. Steve received his PhD from MIT in
1978 under Gordon Pettengill and Irwin Shapiro. He was a professor of
Astronomy at Cornell University before coming to the Jet Propulsion
Laboratory in 1984, where he established the radar astronomy
group. Steve gave of his time freely to younger colleagues and
students. His collegiality and intellectual honesty will be missed.
Steve died of pneumonia after a silent and courageous battle with
cancer. He leaves his wife of 40 years, Jeanne Ostro, and three

We have a Web page, linked from the
DPS home page at, where we will post any details
about memorial services, etc. as we receive them. You may also post
your own thoughts about Steve on this page by e-mailing them to DPS
webmaster Ross Beyer, at