Reta Beebe

Planet Advocate for Jupiter

My Field Journals

Prof. RETA BEEBE, of New Mexico State University is a member of the Galileo Imaging team, she's known as "Mrs Jupiter" for her long-standing interest in the planet. She serves on several task forces interested in opening up scientific research to educators, and is a fount of information about other online resources (such as those at NASA Ames and NASA JPL) which touch on Jupiter.

In answer to the question, What made me want to become an astronomer anyway? Prof. Beebe says:

I grew up in the hills of Colorado. My father was a farmer/rancher... I did not realize that my father was also a naturalist, who'd done a lot of study on his own, because he'd never even gone to high school. So I just assumed that almost everybody in the whole world knew everything that my father did. I learned to pick out the constellations. I spent my childhood trying to say "money" three times before a falling star disappeared, because I would get rich. So that I had a very rich natural environment, animals all around me the whole time, we lived on a ranch. My mother was a teacher and very interested in education, history, that sort of thing, so... she did not answer our questions, she sent us to a book. So it became logical to use a book.

My brothers were all very much younger than I, so I was pretty much free to be what was frequently called the "wild woman". My father used to claim that he had to get the horseshoe rasp out to get my feet in shape to send me to school in the Fall, because we really did run wild, wonderfully wild, in the summertime. And I just simply learned to enjoy the out-of-doors.

When I started teaching, part of the motivation for starting teaching was that I had the summers off to do the kinds of things that I wanted to do. I was teaching in Colorado, where I grew up, and we ranged through the state, you know, on projects for the geology that we would be teaching in junior high. And the space program was developing, and I decided I was not smart enough to continue teaching in junior high, so I went back to get some more training, and had so much fun, I just stayed.