NASA has named the landing site of the agency’s Perseverance rover as “Octavia E. Butler Landing,” after acclaimed science fiction author Octavia E. Butler. The landing location is marked with a star in this image from the High Resolution Imaging Experiment (HiRISE) camera aboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), NASA announced.
Octavia E, Butler (1957-2006) was a good writer by anyone’s standards; she was the first science fiction writer to be awarded a MacArthur Fellowship, the so-called genius grant, also won by Susan Kieffee, Manual-Lin Miranda and N. K. Jemisin. Butler is generally hailed as being the best female African-American Science Fiction writer of the past hundred years.
Perseverance’s misson will emphasize astrobiology and the search for nonterrestial life, “including the search for signs of ancient microbial life.” “The rover will characterize the planet’s geology and past climate, pave the way for human exploration of the Red Planet, and be the first mission to collect and cache Martian rock and regolith (broken rock and dust).”
Future NASA missions , working in cooperation with the European Space Agency (ESA), will have more spacecraft going to Mars to collect soil samples and returns them to Earthfor careful analysis.
Science fiction has inspired real scientists for decades, Now Science acknowledges its debt to Science Fiction by naming the Martian rover’s landing site for one of the most respected science fiction authors of the 20th century.
Susan Macdonald is the author of the children’s book “R is for Renaissance Faire”, as well as short stories in “Alternative Truths”, “Swords and Sorceress #30”, “Supernatural Colorado”, “Barbarian Crowns”, “Cat Tails””Under Western Stars”, and “Knee-High Drummond and the Durango Kid”. Her articles have appeared on SCIFI.radio’s web site, in The Inquisitr, and in The Millington Star. She enjoys Renaissance Faires (see book above), science fiction conventions, Highland Games, and Native American pow-wows.