NASA ‘well on its way’ to finding life on Mars, space agency chief says

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NASA ‘well on its way’ to finding life on Mars: It won’t be long before we spot signs of aliens on the red planet, space agency chief says

  • NASA administrator Jim Bridenstin made the comments in Washington, USA
  • The 43-year-old believes that they are on course to finding proof of alien life  
  • Comes after the space agency announced they’d abandoned Opportunity rover

Peter Lloyd for MailOnline

The discovery of extraterrestrial life could be imminent. 

That’s according to NASA administrator Jim Bridenstin, who told an audience in Washington that his experts team are on the brink of making a historic – and game-changing – find. 

Their Mars missions could soon uncover signs of life on Mars, which has been their focus of attention for several years.

His comments come shortly after the space agency announced that they had abandoned their Opportunity rover on the planet, last week.  

Hopeful: 'We¿re going to be able to look at samples and determine if there¿s a biosignature in there,' Bridenstine said at NASA's headquarters, recently

Hopeful: ‘We’re going to be able to look at samples and determine if there’s a biosignature in there,’ Bridenstine said at NASA’s headquarters, recently

Specifically, they plan to assess Mars soil for ‘biosignatures’ – whether an element, isotope, or molecule – that would show signs of life. 

‘We’re going to be able to look at samples and determine if there’s a biosignature in there,’ Bridenstine said at NASA’s headquarters, recently.

‘The goal is to discover life on another world; that’s what we’re trying to achieve.

‘And because of so many great people in this room, friends, we are well on our way to doing that.’

His confidence seems to stem from three previous finds on Mars: methane, organic molecules – which are deemed the building blocks of life – and water beneath Mars’ south pole. 

‘All of these things collude to say there is a lot we need to learn, and friends, we’re going to do it quickly,’ he added.

Bridenstine confidence seems to stem from three previous finds on Mars: methane, organic molecules - which are deemed the building blocks of life - and water beneath Mars¿ south pole

Bridenstine confidence seems to stem from three previous finds on Mars: methane, organic molecules - which are deemed the building blocks of life - and water beneath Mars¿ south pole

Bridenstine confidence seems to stem from three previous finds on Mars: methane, organic molecules – which are deemed the building blocks of life – and water beneath Mars’ south pole

WHAT DID ‘OPPY’ ACHIEVE ON MARS?

Though Opportunity was intended to last just 90 Martian sols, it survived for a staggering 14-and-a-half years. 

Its many successes include:

  • A one-day Mars driving record March 20, 2005, when it traveled 721 feet (220 meters)
  • More than 217,000 images, including 15 360-degree color panoramas
  • Exposed the surfaces of 52 rocks to reveal fresh mineral surfaces, and cleared 72 additional targets with a brush to prepare them for inspection 
  • Found hematite, a mineral that forms in water, at its landing site
  • Discovered strong indications at Endeavour Crater of the action of ancient water similar to drinkable water of a pond or lake on Earth

NASA’s Mars 2020 Rover is set to embark on its mission in July 2020 and reach its famous destination circa February 2021.

But that’s not their only endeavour. Earlier this month, Bridenstine reasserted plans for NASA to return to the moon by 2028 – where they plan ‘to stay’.

He said they plan to make the moon sustainable for humans so they can go back and forth regularly.

‘This time, when we go to the moon, we’re actually going to stay. We’re not going to leave flags and footprints and then come home to not go back for another 50 years.

‘We’re doing it entirely different than every other country in the world. What we’re doing is, we’re making it sustainable so you can go back and forth regularly with humans,’ he said.  

President Trump said in 2017 that he wants to return Americans to the moon and establish a foundation there for an eventual mission to Mars.

 

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