One of the highlights of Mous’s career came in 2005, when he was among 15 invited international participants speaking in Vatican City at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences, Working Group on Water and the Environment. The purpose of the meeting was to address important issues surrounding hydrology, the environment, and sustainable development.
Moustafa Chahine was a uniquely tolerant, understanding, and generous person who had numerous lasting impacts on a personal level as well as through his many research accomplishments, the latter well documented in his dozens of peer-reviewed research publications. He radiated enthusiasm for science and engineering and delighted in mentoring and encouraging others and in teaching students and the public about the value of satellite observations. He was also generous in his advice and ideas about numerous other aspects of life. He was well rounded in his knowledge of the world, loved all types of music, and could read, write, and speak three languages with amazing fluency.
One might read about Mous’s professional accomplishments and conclude that his work must have come first, but anyone concluding that would be badly mistaken. Those very close to him knew that for Mous there was no question that family came first. He was the compass and anchor for his wife, Marina, in their 53-year journey together, and as a father he led by quiet example, always placing his sons, Tony and Steve, as his top priority.
Mous was a vital part of NASA, JPL, and Caltech for over 50 years and of his family for even longer. His presence is sorely missed throughout the earth sciences community and by his family and many friends. His death, from a heart attack several hours after what had seemed to be successful hernia surgery, was a devastating loss for all those who knew him well. In the words of his sons, Mous’s “astonishing balance between work and family, art and science, reason and passion is what makes his passing such an indescribable loss for us all.” Moustafa T. Chahine is survived by his wife Marina, his sons Tony and Steve, his brother Najib, and his sisters Salma and Haifa.