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Early in the morning the photographs began to arrive. I could hardly believe I was seeing the surface of Mars! At 9:00 a.m., ABC television put me on the air to get my reaction.

The interviewer said, "Mr. Bradbury, how do you feel about this landing? Where are the Martian cities and where are all the living beings?"

"Don't be a fool," I said. "WE are the Martians! We're going to be here for the next million years. At long last, WE ARE MARTIANS!"

That was the end of the interview.

I like to think of the cosmos as a theater, yet a theater cannot exist without an audience, to witness and to celebrate. Robot craft and mighty telescopes will continue to show us unimaginable wonders. But when humans return to the moon and put a base there and prepare to go to Mars and become true Martians, we—the audience—literally enter the cosmic theater. Will we finally reach the stars?

A few years ago I traveled back to my boyhood home in Tucson. I stood out on the lawn and looked up at the night sky—and realized the stars had never looked closer than right there on Lowell Avenue.

Ray Bradbury is the author of the 1950 novel, The Martian Chronicles.
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