Ray Bradbury: 'We're Going to Need Water' on Mars

Famed science-fiction legend Ray Bradbury is excited, both about Wednesday's news that water may still be flowing on Mars and about NASA's plans, announced Monday, to build a permanent base on the moon.

"It's nice to know that water's there, because we're going to need water," the 86-year-old author of "The Martian Chronicles" told FOXNews.com Wednesday from his Los Angeles home. "But more important news than water on Mars is the fact that NASA has announced we're going to build a permanent locale on the moon for taking off to Mars."

Comparisons of two sets of photographs, one taken from orbit in 1999 and 2001 by the Mars Global Surveyor, the other taken in 2004 and 2005 by the same craft, seem to show that liquid water flowed down the sides of craters on the Red Planet's surface in the meantime.

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The images don't directly show water, but they reveal changes in surface features that indicate recent flows.

Mars was once warm and wet like Earth, with a radiation-deflecting magnetic shield, but somehow dried up and got cold billions of years ago.

"There may have been life of some sort," Bradbury said. "We're just not certain."

Scientists hope some hardy microbes might still exist there, and the continuing presence of liquid water makes that a little more likely.

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For decades, Bradbury has woven colorful science-fiction tales about people traveling to and living on Mars, many of them collected in his 1950 book "The Martian Chronicles."

His vivid descriptions of the planet have brought it to life for millions of readers, and he has long believed the stuff of his imagination would one day become reality.

"We're going to bring our life to Mars," he said. "We will be the Martians, and that's our future. I wish I were going to be alive the day we land on Mars and become the Martians."

He believes this country's investment in the space shuttle program has been a mistake that's slowed the progress of exploration of the moon and Mars.

"We should never have had the space shuttle in the last 30 years. We should have stayed on the moon. We've delayed it," he said.

But he is thrilled that NASA wants to put the focus back on launching missions from the moon to Mars, because then his dream will be closer to coming true.

"The water may be flowing on Mars, but the important thing is the blood flowing in our veins and our hearts beating in our chests," Bradbury said. "I've put life on Mars. If you've read 'The Martian Chronicles,' you know damn well there's life on Mars."