NASA engineers announced today that they will be naming the landing side of the Curiosity rover after science fiction legend Ray Bradbury, who died earlier this year, on June 5, 2012.”And today, Sol 16, we are the first roving astrobiology rover on Mars and we have truly extended our reach and touched another planet,” Michael Meyer, the lead scientist for NASA’s Mars Exploration Program, said in a press conference today August 21, after showing a clip of Ray Bradbury taken November of 1971 after the arrival of Mariner 9 on Mars.
“In his honour we declared the place curiosity touched down to be forever known as Bradbury Landing,” Meyer said. “It harkens back to the time when ships landed on the shores of other new worlds to explore. And this place might, in fact with its water reference, might be more apropos.”
From Bradbury’s Wikipedia page:Best known for his dystopian novel Fahrenheit 451 (1953) and for the science fiction and horror stories gathered together as The Martian Chronicles (1950) and The Illustrated Man (1951), Bradbury was one of the most celebrated 20th-century American writers. Many of Bradbury’s works have been adapted into television shows or films.
Peter Theisinger, Mars Exploration Rover Project Manager, said of the naming: “He was a friend of JPL as well as the total space program.”
Bradbury’s vision of Mars inspired many of the scientists on the Mars exploration team, before the technology to go to another planet was even available, they said. Specifically, his first novel, The Martian Chronicles, was a short story collection that chronicles the colonization of Mars by humans.
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