Bergreen asked by NASA to help name Mars

“In 2006, the scientist Steve Squyres of Cornell University and NASA was deep in an extended mission for the Mars rover known as Opportunity. This interplanetary tractor had already survived far longer than expected in the harsh Martian environment of dust storms and subzero temperatures. Like the proverbial Timex watch, it had taken a lickin’ and kept on tickin’. Now Squyres wanted to drive this hardy rover around and eventually into the crater named Victoria, after the sole of ship of Magellan’s fleet to complete the first-ever circumnavigation of the globe. The plan was not without risks. It could wind up falling off a steep cliff, or buried in a sandstorm, or simply lose power and expire. Nevertheless, Steve and his dedicated team at NASA were all for exploring the Red Planet as long as Opportunity functioned.

Because I’d written Over the Edge of World: Magellan’s Terrifying Circumnavigation of the Globe, which was published in 2003, as well as an earlier book about NASA’s exploration of the Red Planet, Voyage to Mars (2000), Steve asked me to contribute names for features discovered on Mars by Opportunity after those discovered by Magellan his circumnavigation. And so I did. Since then, places discovered in and around Victoria crater such as Duck Bay and many others derive from features in South America and the Pacific that Magellan visited almost five hundred years earlier. So NASA affirmed that the spirit of exploration and discovery is alive and well in our own day, as it extends from earth to Mars and beyond.”

– Laurence Bergreen