While award-winning sci-fi author Ray Bradbury didn’t live to see the Curiosity rover make it to Mars, NASA is keeping his spirit alive as we explore the Red Planet.
At a news conference Wednesday, 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,” said Bradbury.
If you haven’t read The Martian Chronicles, this would be a great time to pick it up and read it. Or if you haven’t read it in a while, why not give it a re-read?