Categories: Mars

Mars Rover Drivers Inspired by Ray Bradbury

Two of the drivers of the Mars Exploration Rovers, Ashley Stroupe and Scott Maxwell, were fortunate to host a very special visitor to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory a couple of years ago. Science fiction author Ray Bradbury came, and even though he was wheel-chair-bound, he received the grand tour, and the two rover drivers showed him huge panoramic images taken by the rovers and even let Bradbury drive a 3-D computer model of the rovers. Stroupe tells the story of Bradbury’s visit in the video above, and Maxwell told his version of the story in a blog post back in 2009, which was re-published on the Planetary Blog. Of Bradbury seeing the panoramas, Maxwell wrote, “These just happen to be perfect for Bradbury: color panoramic images of Mars, taken from a human’s perspective, but mounted close to a wheelchair-bound man’s height. It must have seemed to him that he was, for the first time, really there. On the edge of a crater. On top of a mountain. On the plains, looking at the crashed remnants of the spaceship we rode there. On Mars.”

It’s a heartwarming story of inspiration and the legacy left by Bradbury, who passed away this week. “Long before we knew how to do it, Bradbury was taking us there in our minds,” Stroupe says.

Nancy Atkinson

Nancy has been with Universe Today since 2004, and has published over 6,000 articles on space exploration, astronomy, science and technology. She is the author of two books: "Eight Years to the Moon: the History of the Apollo Missions," (2019) which shares the stories of 60 engineers and scientists who worked behind the scenes to make landing on the Moon possible; and "Incredible Stories from Space: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Missions Changing Our View of the Cosmos" (2016) tells the stories of those who work on NASA's robotic missions to explore the Solar System and beyond. Follow Nancy on Twitter at and and Instagram at and

Recent Posts

Marsquakes Can Help Us Find Water on the Red Planet

Earth is a seismically active planet, and scientists have figured out how to use seismic…

4 mins ago

If We Want To Find Life-Supporting Worlds, We Should Focus on Small Planets With Large Moons

There's no perfect way of doing anything, including searching for exoplanets. Every planet-hunting method has…

3 hours ago

The Earliest Merging Quasars Ever Seen

Studying the history of science shows how often serendipity plays a role in some of…

6 hours ago

Hubble's Back, but Only Using One Gyro

The Hubble Space Telescope has experienced ongoing problems with one of its three remaining gyroscopes,…

20 hours ago

Earth’s Atmosphere is Our Best Defence Against Nearby Supernovae

Earth's protective atmosphere has sheltered life for billions of years, creating a haven where evolution…

24 hours ago

There’s Chang’e-6 on the Far Side of the Moon

The newest phase of China's lunar exploration project is soon coming to an end. On…

1 day ago