This image provided by NASA shows a 2008 photo of a mini-DVD on the deck of the Phoenix lander on the Mars surface containing author Ray Bradbury’s “The Martian Chronicles” and other science fiction work. Bradbury died on June 6, 2012 at age 91. The mini-DVD from the Planetary Society contains a message to future Martian explorers, science fiction stories and art inspired by the Red Planet, and the names of more than a quarter million earthlings. (AP Photo/NASA)
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Near the north pole of Mars, a piece of Ray Bradbury lives on, waiting to be discovered by someone in the future.
A digital copy of Bradbury’s “The Martian Chronicles” along with works by other science fiction legends was flown into space in 2007 by NASA’s Phoenix spacecraft, which touched down on the Martian arctic plains.
The Planetary Society wanted to put a time capsule on the red planet for future human explorers and sought permission from Bradbury to include his futuristic novel on a mini-DVD containing Mars-themed literature, art and music, and the names of 250,000 Earthlings.
Soon after landing in 2008, Phoenix snapped a picture of its deck showing the disc next to an American flag. The spacecraft operated for five months before freezing to death.
NASA is developing next generation of rockets and capsules for flights out of Earth’s orbit to an asteroid as a stepping stone to Mars.
Bradbury did not live to see NASA’s upcoming robotic mission to Mars — the landing of a one-ton rover called Curiosity near the Martian equator in August. Several weeks ago, Lou Friedman, the former head of the Planetary Society, asked Bradbury if he would record a video message about the upcoming landing. Bradbury agreed but the filming never happened.
Friedman has proposed a tribute: Rename Curiosity’s landing site the Ray Bradbury Memorial Station.