Dr. George Sands, 75, a NASA project scientist who was the...


November 14, 1994

Dr. George Sands, 75, a NASA project scientist who was the spokesman for the Viking spacecraft missions to Mars in 1976, died Nov. 2 at his home in Williamsburg, Va., after a long illness. As the "voice of Viking," he answered questions from scientists and reporters about the unmanned spacecraft's landings July 20 and Sept. 3, 1976. The craft transmitted more than 1,400 photographs back to Earth showing deep canyons and channels carved into the planet's volcanic surface.

Maurice Robert Smith, 100, who commanded an Army balloon unit in World War I, died Oct. 30 at his home in Lake Wales, Fla. In World War I, he was a major in the American Expeditionary Force in Europe, in charge of tethered, or captive, balloons, which were used to observe troop movements and to help direct gunfire. The Army deployed about a dozen such units.

Hal Ellson, 84, a prolific writer of novels and short stories, died Oct. 31 of a heart attack at his home in Brooklyn, N.Y. He wrote dozens of novels and hundreds of short stories, many dealing with big-city teen-agers and juvenile delinquency. Much of his material came from his career as a nurse's aide in the psychiatric adolescent ward at Bellevue Hospital and as a recreational therapist. His stories were published in many magazines and collections, including Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine and Best Detective Stories. Among his novels are "Duke," "Games" and "Tomboy," which was made into a movie in France.

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