Highlands & Islands

Former Nasa astronaut Bonnie Dunbar for Glenelg Mars rover party

Astronauts on Mir space station
Image caption Astronaut Bonnie Dunbar in the Russian Space Station Mir in 1998

A small Scottish community is to mark Mars rover Curiosity's arrival at its namesake on the Red Planet.

Nasa's robot is expected to reach an area of rocky Martian terrain dubbed Glenelg next month.

Back on Earth, residents of Glenelg in the west Highlands are preparing to hold celebrations on 20 October.

Guests at the event will include former astronaut Bonnie Dunbar and Scotland's Astronomer Royal, Professor John Brown.

A working scale model of a Nasa rover made by a group of space enthusiasts in Shetland will also feature.

The ticketed event will have guided walks to nearby Iron Age homes, called brochs, and a treasure hunt using GPS technology before ending with a ceilidh.

Ms Dunbar flew on five space shuttle missions in the 1980s and 1990s on Challenger and Columbia.

In 1995, she flew in the first shuttle mission to dock with the Russian Space Station Mir. Three years later, she flew in the last mission to deliver a US astronaut to Mir.

Ms Dunbar's paternal grandparents came from Scotland. Her grandfather Charles Dunbar was born in Dundee and her grandmother Mary was born close to Gardenstown, near Banff.

Glenelg and Arnisdale Community Portal will release more details on the celebrations next week.

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