ANN ARBOR, Mich., Oct. 20 (UPI) -- Thomas Donahue, a pioneering planetary scientist and leading physicist from Michigan, has died at age 83, the New York Times reported Wednesday.
Donahue, who died Saturday of complications from heart surgery, was raised in Kansas City and graduated from Rockhurst College with degrees in classics and physics. He earned a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University.
From 1951 until 1974, when he moved to the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, Donahue taught and did research in atmospheric and atomic physics at the University of Pittsburgh.
An early advocate of using satellites and spacecraft to study Earth and other planets, he was an experimenter or participating scientist on missions sent to Venus, Jupiter and Saturn, as well as investigations of the moon and the Earth's atmosphere, the Times reported.
Donahue also served on panels in Washington that helped guide the science efforts of the U.S. space agency and led the science steering group of the two Pioneer missions to Venus during the early 1970s
He is survived by his wife, Esther McPherson Donahue, whom he married in 1950; three sons; six grandchildren; and a brother and sister.