Ray Bradbury would have been 92, today. The author was an iconic figure in science fiction and fantasy in the 20th Century. Ray Bradbury's name seems forever linked to the Red Planet, at least as much as any other literary figure. Today, Barack Obama's NASA officially recognized this by designating the Curiosity Rover landing site as "Bradbury Landing". On a day when NASA could have led off its daily press briefing with some serious crowing and chest beating, after an absolutely perfect and complete test of the Curiosity Rover's mobility systems, NASA instead began today's Curiosity briefing with this appearance by Bradbury on stage with such figures as Carl Sagan and Arthur C. Clarke, at the time of the Mariner Mars missions.
This extraordinary and inspirational video was followed by NASA's first images looking back at Bradbury Landing after Curiosity had completed its program of maneuvers for today's test. Accompany me into the tall grass for more on those maneuvers.
It's all summed up better than I could in this report from Al Jazeera today:
NASA engineers and scientists have delivered a remarkably capable and fully functional robot research laboratory and Curiosity is now poised to set off on a journey that will soon provide an assay of a nearby intersection of three different kinds of Martian geology. Those results will be coming in during the height of the election campaign. If what comes in is inconclusive, it won't mean much in the election. But if sensational results start coming in, it will only be good for science believers and those with faith in the ability of our government to address national issues It can only be bad for science deniers and those who castigate government as part of every problem and author of no solutions, that is, the GOP.