Science Art: Welcome to ‘Octavia E. Butler Landing’, NASA, 2021.

Scientific illustration of the Perseverance rover landing site named for science fiction author Octavia Butler.

Scientific illustration of the Perseverance rover landing site named for science fiction author Octavia Butler.Click to embiggen

NASA named the landing site for the Mars rover mission after science fiction author Octavia E. Butler.

As they say on their Image Gallery site:

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).

A key objective for Perseverance’s mission on Mars is astrobiology, 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).

Given Butler’s focus on alien biology and soil, it’s nice to see the space agency folks making this particular connection. Also, as someone who grew up on a coast, it’s super cool to see a “landing” in a place name in this context. Is it all that different?