Curiosity becomes First roving machine on Mars

This afternoon the folks responsible for the NASA mission at their Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California announced that they'd begun to move forward on wheels. The Curiosity rover landed less than a month ago on the planet, it being another of NASA's successful landings in what's expected to be a long line of Mars explorations. The rover was announced today to have rolled forward about 15 feet before rotating its wheels 120 degrees and advancing another 8 feet in a new direction.

For the science fiction lovers amongst us there's also the announcement made today that this mission's managers have decided name the landing site "Bradbury Landing" in honor of the late writer. Ray Bradbury passed away this June and would have been 92 today, the day of this history next step in the NASA mission. Michael Meyer, lead scientist for the Mars Exploration Program at NASA headquarters, made their intent clear today.

"We have truly extended our reach and touched another planet. Today would have been Ray Bradbury's 92nd birthday, but he's already reached immortality with the 100s of short stories he's written and nearly 50 books. His books have truly inspired us. The Martian Chronicles have inspired our curiosity and opened our minds to the possibility of life on Mars. In his honor, we declared the place that Curiosity touched down to be forever known as Bradbury Landing." – Meyer

Have a peek at the news conference given where the declaration was made and the team became the first in the universe to rove about the planet Mars.

Video streaming by Ustream

Inside that conference you'll see old footage – also included below – of Ray Bradbury reciting his poem "If only we had been taller" at an event at Caltech on the eve of the craft Mariner 9 heading to Mars in 1971. This event is epic as well, with his words containing the power to launch our ships of the future – proof is all around us!

[via NASA]