The place where the NASA Mars rover Perseverance landed was named after legendary Black science fiction writer, Octavia Butler. The rover landed on "Octavia E. Butler Landing" earlier this month.
Butler’s trailblazing legacy includes books like Kindred, Parable of the Sower, depict worlds where Blackness, science, and imagination all meet on Earth.
“Her guiding principle, ‘When using science, do so accurately,’ is what the science team at NASA is all about. Her work continues to inspire today’s scientists and engineers across the globe –– in the name of a bolder, more equitable future for all,” Thomas Zurbuch, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate said in a statement.
Butler made history as the first Black woman to win Hugo and Nebula awards, which celebrate the best among sci-fi authors. In 1995, she became the first sci-fi writer to earn a MacArthur Fellowship.
Her works include stories about a variety of sci-fi topics from vampires, to apocalyptic imaginings, and time travel. They're considered foundational to Afrofuturism, which uses Black traditions as an axis in its observation and imagining of the future and in fictive worlds.
“Butler’s protagonists embody determination and inventiveness, making her a perfect fit for the Perseverance rover mission and its theme of overcoming challenges,” Katie Stack Morgan, deputy project scientist for the rover told CNN.
Butler died in 2006, before human travel to Mars was a reality, but left her mark here on Earth and now, on other planets.
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