[Ray Bradbury had] written the most famous book ever about Mars, and in his middle age he was invited to come over to the Jet Propulsion Laboratories in Pasadena to watch the pictures come in from the first earth vehicle to get there. It was very early in the morning, maybe around five o’clock, and the pictures started arriving. They were amazingly good pictures, and the scientists in the JPL were very excited. Some were drinking champagne. Others were even crying, they were so proud and excited.
In the middle of it all, Bradbury told us, “some TV journalist shoved a mic into my face and he growled at me, ‘well, Bradbury, how do you feel? All these years you’ve been writing about Mars, dreaming about Mars, talking about Mars, and the first earth ship lands on Mars…and there’s no sign of life anywhere! So tell us, how do you feel?’ ”
And Bradbury, to his enormous credit — and this brought a lot of us in his audience to tears — said, “I looked into the TV camera and I said ‘Fools! Fools! There IS life on Mars. It is US’.”
Amen, bro. That’s what America’s all about.
— Michael Ledeen, “There’s Life on Mars?”