It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of JPL/NASA Solar System Ambassador Robert (Bob) Menn (b. September 12th, 1950), a luminary in the field of astronomy and a passionate advocate for science education. Bob left us on October 16th, 2023, leaving behind a legacy that stretches across decades of dedicated service to igniting a passion for astronomical science to young and old.
Bob's journey began when he earned his Master's degree, embarking on a career as a professional writer. In recent years, he found his true calling in the vast expanse of the night sky, specializing in astronomy and telescopes. His contributions were immeasurable as the esteemed writer and video producer for a prominent telescope manufacturer. His talents extended beyond the written word, as he edited and produced numerous webcasts for the 4M astronomy club, featuring luminaries such as Solar System Ambassador Scott Roberts and renowned comet hunter David Levy.
In 2008, Bob took the helm as the coordinator for the Tessmann Planetarium in Santa Ana, California. His passion for educating others about the wonders of the universe shone through in the planetarium shows he created and presented to tens of thousands of captivated attendees. His dedication did not go unnoticed, and in September 2019, Bob was honored with a Congressional Certificate of Recognition for his unwavering commitment to the sciences of astronomy and space exploration.
Even after his retirement from the planetarium in 2020, Bob remained an active force in the world of science education. He continued to share his knowledge and passion by giving presentations throughout Orange County. A true steward of history, he volunteered at the Cooper Archeological and Paleontological Center in Santa Ana, enriching our understanding of the past.
Bob's commitment to education extended beyond the stars. As a docent at the Ralph Clark Interpretive Center in Buena Park, he eagerly awaited the center's reopening in the spring of 2023. His impact on the community was profound, leaving an indelible mark on the minds of those he encountered.
Beyond the realm of astronomy, Bob was a multifaceted individual. In his free time, he explored the world of electronic music and reveled in the realms of science fiction as an avid fan.
Bob Menn's departure leaves a void in the celestial community and the hearts of those who were fortunate to know him. His legacy lives on in the countless minds he inspired, the knowledge he shared, and the passion he instilled for the mysteries of the cosmos. As we bid farewell to a true explorer of the stars, let us remember Bob for his contributions, his warmth, and the bright light he brought to the world of science and beyond.