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Planetary Geoscience

Lawrence “Larry” Taylor, a faculty member who was founder and director of UT’s Planetary Geosciences Institute, passed away September 18. He was 79.

A prolific researcher, Taylor had a career at UT that spanned 46 years.

He was one of the geoscientists based at the Johnson Space Center during Apollo 17, NASA’s last manned mission to the moon, in December 1972. During that mission, he met astronaut Harrison H. “Jack” Schmitt. Their friendship played a critical role in the growth of UT’s Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, in which Taylor was based. It was also instrumental in the forming of the Planetary Geosciences Institute, which has a long and well-established history of work for NASA and the National Science Foundation.

The electron probe laboratory in the new Strong Hall science building will bear Taylor’s name. His contributions funded the Larry Taylor Professorship in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences.

Taylor is survived by his wife, Dawn, his children, Kelly Parra and Jeff Taylor, and their spouses and children.