Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Ray Bradbury and Progress

I read somewhere that yesterday was author Ray Bradbury's eighty-sixth birthday. He was interviewed on the occasion by Los Angeles public radio station KPCC - you can listen here (RealAudio required). The author of The Martian Chronicles and many other books and stories (first story published on his twenty-first birthday) continues to write for hours a day and is optimistic about our future in space. He noted that when he was a young man, he dreamed of (and wrote about) people going to the Moon, and figured that he might live to see this happen, perhaps when he was an old man. In fact it happened when he was just 49, and we have also robotically explored much of the Solar System within his lifetime. He noted that there has also been amazing progress in medicine and in many technologies within the span of his own life.

He believes we should have never left the Moon and is enthusiastic about plans to return there and to go on to Mars some fifteen years later (maybe a bit optimistic unless things change from current plans, which for NASA suggest a time frame of around 2030, with even that a bit vague). He strongly supports colonization of Mars and human expansion into the rest of the Solar System and beyond.

Interestingly enough for someone who envisions all this advanced transportation in the future, Ray Bradbury lives in Los Angeles and doesn't drive! He says that LA's freeways "don't work" and looks forward to the day that a monorail system will replace them (hmm, Mars might be quicker, Ray). Happy birthday to an amazing writer who has been imagining the future in print for 65 years!

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