Curiosity Martian landing point named after Ray Bradbury

Nasa-honours-SF

Douglas Adams had an asteroid named after one of his characters; now the late Ray Bradbury has lent his name to the spot where Nasa’s rover Curiosity landed on Mars

Nasa announced – which would have been Bradbury’s 92nd birthday – that the landing site of Curiosity was now called Bradbury Landing, in honour of the science fiction author who died earlier this year.

Curiosity landed on Mars on 5 August, beginning a two-year exploratory mission. Bradbury, who died in June aged 91, was the author of hundreds of short stories, as well as the novels Something Wicked This Way Comes and Fahrenheit 451. His classic collection of stories The Martian Chronicles, written in the 1940s, imagined man’s experiences on Mars telepathic Martians who lived there. “The Martian desert lay broiling like a prehistoric mud-pot, waves of heat rising and shimmering,” he writes in The Earth Men. “There was a small rocket-ship reclining upon a hilltop nearby.”

“This was not a difficult choice for the science team,” said Michael Meyer, Nasa programme scientist for Curiosity. “Many of us and millions of other readers were inspired in our lives by stories Ray Bradbury wrote to dream of the possibility of life on Mars.”

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