It is with great sadness that the eMAS instrument team announces the passing of Michael Fitzgerald, one of the original data analysts and a driving force behind the successful development and operation of a number of major NASA airborne instruments, including the eMAS, MASTER, and TIMS. For nearly 20 years, from its first deployment to the Azores in 1992, Mike spearheaded eMAS data processing, software development, and field operations. His boundless energy, imperturbable optimism, and good spirits, will be remembered fondly by all who knew him. He died peacefully at his home in Boulder Creek with family on the 12th of February, 2012. He was only 52 years old and a 4th generation native of San Mateo, California. He died of ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) seven years after being diagnosed.
Prior to coming to NASA, Mike worked for seven years as a union electrician (IBEW 617) until he suffered several disabling injuries. He then received his BS in Geography from San Francisco State University under a career rehabilitation program, and came to Ames Research Center as a student intern. He quickly became fascinated with Earth science and remote sensing, and over the next 20 years went on to become a leading member of the technical staff at the Airborne Sensor Facility. He led the eMAS and MASTER deployment teams on major field experiments from Alaska, to Brazil, Costa Rica, and South Africa, to name but a few; and his contagious good nature and technical skills together were a big part of their collective success. His motto after being struck down by ALS became Faith, Not Fear exemplifying the indomitable spirit which will remain forever an inspiration to friends and colleagues alike.
These sample images represent the enormous repository of data from various campaigns collected over the past two decades.