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Ray Bradbury: JPL, Caltech pay tribute to friend of NASA

June 7, 2012 | 10:21 am

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Caltech paid tribute Tuesday to science-fiction author Ray Bradbury, noting that he was a fan of NASA and frequently attended local events.

Bradbury died Tuesday at the age of 91 after a long illness, his family said.

In one notable Caltech symposium on Nov. 12, 1971, the "Martian Chronicles" author gathered with Arthur C. Clarke, Walter Sullivan, Carl Sagan and Bruce Murray as the Mariner 9 was about to begin orbit on Mars.

PHOTOS: Ray Bradbury | 1920 - 2012

In a video released by JPL, Bradbury says, "I don't know what in the hell I'm doing here. I'm the least scientific of all the people up on the platform here today."

"I was hoping, that during the last few days, as we got closer to Mars and the dust cleared, that we'd see a lot of Martians standing there with huge signs saying, 'Bradbury was right,' " he says in the video, referring to children disagreeing with scientific elements in his books.

Bradbury later reads from one of his poems, "If Only We Had Taller Been."

Author of more than 27 novels and story collections — most famously "The Martian Chronicles," "Fahrenheit 451," "Dandelion Wine" and "Something Wicked This Way Comes" — and more than 600 short stories, Bradbury has frequently been credited with elevating the often-maligned reputation of science fiction. Some say he singlehandedly helped to move the genre into the realm of literature.

Bradbury was a longtime resident of Los Angeles.

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--Tiffany Kelly, Times Community News

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