Planetary Science Division director Jim Green spoke out about the agency apparently being close to “making some announcements” about finding life on Mars. Although highly significant in finding out more about the universe, Dr Green claims that the human race is not ready for the announcement.
In an interview with the Telegraph, the NASA scientist warned that the world isn’t prepared for the discovery of life on another planet – something of which he claims is just a few years away.
He said: “It will be revolutionary – it’s like when Copernicus stated ‘no we go around the Sun’ – completely revolutionary.
“It will start a whole new line of thinking.
“I don’t think we’re prepared for the results. We’re not.
Dr Jim Green said NASA was close to announcing the existence of life on Mars
The rovers will pierce through the surface of the red planet
“I’ve been worried about that because I think we’re close to finding it, and making some announcements.
“What happens next is a whole new set of scientific questions.
“Is that life like us? How are we related? Can life can move from planet-to-planet or do we have a spark and just the right environment and that spark generates life – like us or not like us – based on the chemical environment that it is in?”
Next summer, two rovers from NASA and the European Space Agency will travel to Mars to drill into rocks and deep into the surface of the fourth planet.
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Dr Green is a chief scientist at NASA
The mission, NASA hopes, will result in their finding evidence of living organisms.
Dr Green, who has been instrumental in the planning of both missions, said there was a real possibility that one or both rovers will be successful.
Europe’s ExoMars rover is scheduled to land on Mars in March 2021.
Dubbed Rosalind, in honour of the British chemist Rosalind Franklin, the rover will dig six and a half feet down into the ground to take samples.
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Rovers have previously trailed the surface of Mars
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The rock matter will then be fed through an aperture on the rover which will grind and crush the rock in a mobile laboratory, consequently analysing it for any organic matter.
Confirmation of life could come within weeks or months of the rovers landing.
NASA’s rover will carry out a similar job, drilling into rock formations on the surface and then leave samples n test tubes.
The matter will later be sent back to Earth for examination, the first time that matter from Mars will have been brought back to Earth.
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Scientists will be looking for 300 minerals which can only be made by the presence of life.
The rovers will cover a region near what is thought to have been an ancient Martian ocean, where life may have thrived billions of years ago when Mars was “blue” like Earth.
Though fearful, Dr Green said: “I’m excited about these missions because they have the opportunity to find life, they really do, and I want them to,” he added.
“We’ve never drilled that deep down. When environments get extreme life moves into the rocks.
A vast of land on Mars is thought to have once been an ocean
“When we first started the field of astrobiology in the 90s we started looking for extreme life. We go down in mines two miles deep into the Earth and if they were weeping with water they were full of life.
“We have gone in nuclear cesspools, places where you’d think nothing could survive, and they are full of life. And the bottom line is where there is water there is life.
“In fact, because the crust has so much water in it, we now know that there is more life below our feet than on the surface of this Earth including life in the ocean.”