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Ray Bradbury: Why NASA named Curiosity landing site after SciFi writer

Ray Bradbury is the new name for the Mars rover landing site in the Gale Crater. NASA chose Ray Bradbury to honor the iconic writer's legacy and dedication to Mars exploration, NASA officials said.

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NASA scientists named the Curiosity touch-down area Bradbury Landing after writer Ray Bradbury, seen on screen, at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2012.

(AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

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NASA began a new chapter of its Martian chronicle Aug. 22 when the agency named its Mars rover Curiosity's landing site after the late science fiction author Ray Bradbury.

Curiosity's landing site inside Mars' vast Gale Crater was rechristened "Bradbury Landing"  to honor the iconic writer's legacy and dedication to Mars exploration, NASA officials said.

 Ray Bradbury died in June at age 91. His first book, "The Martian Chronicles," paints a vivid picture of the human exploration of Mars through a series of short stories. The book was published in 1950 and later adapted into a TV series and video game.

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"Today would have been Ray Bradbury's 92nd birthday, but he's already reached immortality in his short stories and books," said Michael Meyer, lead scientist for NASA's Mars Exploration Program. "His books have truly inspired us. His 'Martian Chronicles' has inspired our curiosity." [More photos of Bradbury Landing on Mars]

The Mars rover Curiosity landed on Aug. 5 inside Gale Crater to determine if the area could have ever supported microbial life. The site of Bradbury Landing is the space contained within the first boxy wheel marks made by Curiosity as it was lowered to the Martian surface by its sky crane descent stage, Meyer said.

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