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Tyre tracks on Mars at landing spot named after sci-fi author Ray Bradbury

Curiosity beamed back images of its first track marks on the Martian terrain Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA scientists have christened a small spot on Mars 'Bradbury Landing' after the celebrated science-fiction author who inspired them to "dream of the possibility of life on Mars".

Ray Bradbury, who died earlier this year, would have turned 92 today.

He was most famous for writing Fahrenheit 451 (1953) and a series of short horror stories based on humans colonising of Mars, collectively known as The Martian Chronicles (1950).

Ray Bradbury Credit: REUTERS/Fred Prouser

Speaking at a press briefing earlier today, the program scientist for the Curiosity mission, Michael Meyer, said:

This was not a difficult choice for the science team. Many of us and millions of other readers were inspired in our lives by stories Ray Bradbury wrote to dream of the possibility of life on Mars.

– Michael Meyer, NASA program scientist for Curiosity

The spot named in his honour marks where the Curiosity rover first touched down on the red planet. Its official name henceforth will be 'Bradbury Landing'.

Bradbury, who had a lifelong interest in Mars, visited the NASA laboratory where the Curiosity rover was designed and built.

NASA's photo of the heat shield dropping away moments before Curiosity landed Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The Curiosity rover, which landed on Mars on August 6, boasts the most sophisticated set of scientific instruments ever sent to Mars.

NASA scientists confirmed today that the rover's cameras, laser and mobility system had all been tested successfully and that they were planning a longer drive in the coming weeks.

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