Alexander Basilevsky wins 2004 Masursky Prize from AAS Division for Planetary Sciences

Press Release From: American Astronautical Society
Posted: Wednesday, July 7, 2004

The Division for Planetary Sciences (DPS) of the American Astronomical Society has awarded its 2004 Harold Masursky Prize to Dr. Alexander Basilevsky, Director of the Laboratory of Comparative Planetology at the Vernadsky Institute in Moscow, Russia. The Masursky Prize is awarded annually to recognize and honor individuals who have rendered outstanding service to planetary science and exploration through engineering, managerial, programmatic, or public service activities. The Masursky Prize will be presented to Basilevsky at DPS 2004, which will convene November 8-12 in Louisville, Kentucky.

Alexander Basilevsky is Director of the Laboratory of Comparative Planetology at the Vernadsky Institute in Moscow. As scientific colleagues and close personal friends during the Cold War era, Drs. Basilevsky and Masursky were together responsible for establishing some of the most basic and productive interactions between planetary scientists of the Soviet Union and those of the United States and Western Europe. As a leading expert in the study of cratering processes and planetary geology for the Moon, Mars, and Venus, Basilevsky was a natural Soviet scientific counterpart to Masursky. Also analogous to Masursky, Basilevsky's detailed involvement and pushing of a scientific agenda in all Soviet lunar and planetary missions was a major factor in inserting science into otherwise political and engineering missions. Dr. Basilevsky's scientific and political impact extended internationally through his extensive effort and success in being one of the few Soviet scientists able to travel frequently to planetary conferences in the west. Further, he participated actively within the European Geophysical Union, the International Union of Geological Sciences, as well as within the organization of Vernadsky-Brown University Microsymposia on Comparative Planetology.

The DPS is the largest organization of professional planetary scientists in the world. More information on the annual DPS meeting and this year's prize winners, including an image of Dr. Basilevsky, can be found on the DPS web site at

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