Search for Alien Life Need Humans on Mars, NASA Chief Scientist Says
To begin searching for life beyond this earth, we must put humans on Mars. According to NASA Chief Scientist, Elan Stofan, this will be a powerful step towards finding extraterrestrial life.
“I am someone who believes it is going to take humans on the surface [of Mars] … to really get at the question of not just did life evolve on Mars, but what is the nature of that life. To me, we’re going to go Mars because Mars holds the answers to such fundamental scientific questions that we’re trying to ask.”
At a live workshop in Irvine, California, hosted by the National Academy of Sciences, Ellen Stofan argued for the need of manned missions to Mars, such as Mars One or Elon Musk’s programs.
Search for Life on Mars
Today, the surface of Mars is apparently inhospitable. But that does not mean that there are no life forms on Mars, or ones that may not have existed before. Mars has very little water, which is extremely salty. It does not have a magnetosphere like earth, also has a very thin atmosphere.
Summer daytime temperatures are cool 21 degrees Celsius, whereas night temperatures plummet to a minus 73 degrees Celsius. But that does not mean that life cannot exists on Mars. Life on earth has existed in extreme conditions too, surviving high doses of radiation, extreme temperatures and pressure.
But in all these cases, life needed water to sustain. Based on the discoveries on the Red planet, people speculates that life exists on the Red Planet today. Even if that may not be true, life may have existed on Mars during ancient times.
Plans to get out there
Right now, NASA has plans to get people out there on Mars and have them bring back rock samples to earth. A rock sample, studied and analyzed in earth, will help us determine what sort of life exists, or had existed or can exists on Mars. It will also be needed to prevent biological contamination from a human visit.
Right now, NASA has plans to send humans to Mars around late 2030s.