water vapor, soon after the 2002 Aqua launch, and a continuing data set of upper-tropospheric water vapor derived from the AIRS data has been available ever since.
In addition to being a prominent NASA and Caltech researcher throughout his 51-year JPL career, Mous served in important managerial positions. He headed JPL’s Planetary Atmospheres Section from 1975 to 1978 and then founded the Division of Earth and Space Sciences, which he headed from 1978 to 1984, leading its approximately 400 researchers. Afterward, he served as JPL’s chief scientist from 1984 to 2001. Mous was also the first chair of the Science Steering Group of the World Meteorological Organization’s Global Energy and Water Cycle Experiment (GEWEX), serving in that role from 1989 to 1999. During that time the steering group defined the goals and objectives of GEWEX and established connections with the international earth sciences community, helping bring together satellite-based data collection and climate modeling.
Throughout his career, Mous’s excellence was rewarded with notable honors. He received NASA’s Medal for Exceptional Scientific Achievement in 1969, NASA’s Outstanding Leadership Medal in 1984, the William T. Pecora Award from NASA and the U.S. Department of the Interior in 1989, the Jule G. Charney Award from the American Meteorological Society in 1991, the Losey Atmospheric Sciences Award from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics in 1993, the William Nordberg Medal from the Committee on Space Research in 2002, NASA’s Medal for Exceptional Scientific Achievement in 2007, and the George W. Goddard Award from the International Society for Optics and Photonics in 2010. The latter award was given specifically for Mous’s “exceptional achievement in optical science and instrumentation for aerospace and atmospheric research.” Mous was a fellow of the American Physical Society, the American Meteorological Society, the British Meteorological Society, the American Geophysical Union, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He was elected a member of the National Academy of Engineering in 2009 and was also a member of both the International Academy of Astronautics and the Society of Sigma Xi.