Ray Bradbury explored Mars, and the future of humanity, through words and ideas--vehicles of the imagination. He was a visionary author and, through his writings and lectures, was a direct or indirect mentor to so many of us involved with designing, building, and operating the actual space vehicles of today. I think it is so fitting, then, that the MSL team has memorialized Ray's contributions to the exploration of the planets--and especially Mars--by naming Curiosity's landing site in his honor.
As a member of our Advisory Council, Ray was also a good friend of The Planetary Society, especially helping the Society establish its early roots in advocacy and public engagement. His "Martian Chronicles" is actually on Mars now, on a special DVD sent to the planet in 2008 as part of the Society's contribution to the Phoenix lander mission. I look forward to the day when people can visit Bradbury Landing in Gale crater themselves, relive the dramatic Sky Crane landing events of a few weeks ago (the retrorocket scour marks should still be there!), and reflect together on Ray Bradbury's profound influence on this grand enterprise of exploring our neighboring worlds.