Ray Bradbury didn't live to see NASA's Curiosity Rover land on the surface of Mars, but there's no doubt the Martian Chronicles author would have loved to watch humanity's continued exploration of the Red Planet. Now, on what would have been the sci-fi legend's 92nd birthday, NASA's making Bradbury a permanent part of its Martian odyssey.
The space agency held a news conference on Wednesday, which has officially been designated as "Space Day," to update everyone on Curiosity's progress on the Martian surface. But before the rover was discussed, the Curiosity crew played footage of Bradbury reciting his poem "If Only We Had Taller Been" in 1971.
Following the clip, Mars Exploration Program lead scientist Michael Meyer announced that Bradbury's name will forever be a part of the Red Planet.
"In his honor, we declared the place that Curiosity touched down to be forever known as Bradbury Landing," Meyer said.
The Curiosity team, headed by project manager Pete Theisinger, then led the room in a round of applause in honor of Bradbury.
Bradbury died June 5 at age 91, two months shy of Curiosity's landing on the Martian surface. In an interview with Playboy magazine in 1996, he explained why he viewed space travel as a vital human endeavor.
"First of all, it's a religious endeavor to be immortal. If the earth dies, we must be able to continue. Space travel will give us other planets to live on so we can continue to have children. It's that simple, that great and that exciting."
Now Ray Bradbury gets to be a permanent part of that "religious endeavor." Well done, NASA.
(Via Washington Post)