According to the chief scientist of NASA, Dr. Jim Green, the space agency is close to finding life on Mars.
Dr. Green said that the world is not prepared for the implications of this revolutionary discovery. NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) will be launching two rovers be in July 2020. These are expected to find proof of life within their arrival on Mars around March 2021.
The NASA rover named Mars 2020 will be drilling into the planet’s rock formations. It would then be sending rock samples back to Earth. If this happens, it would be the first time that material from Mars will be brought to the planet Earth.
ESA’s ExoMars Rover or also known as “Rosalind” will be searching Mars for evidence of extraterrestrial life. The rover, which was named after the British chemist Rosalind Franklin, will be drilling 6.5 feet down into the Red planet’s core to take samples.
Once these samples have been collected, they will be crushed and examined for organic matter inside a mobile laboratory.
Dr. Green has likened the possibility of discovering life on Mars would be just like when Nicolaus Copernicus said that the Earth revolves around the sun back in the 16th century.
“It will start a whole new line of thinking. I don’t think we’re prepared for the results. I’ve been worried about that because I think we’re close to finding it and making some announcements,” Dr. Green said.
If life is discovered on Mars, this would give scientists plenty of new questions to explore. Earlier this year, scientists were able to discover that there could be an active and extensive water system running underneath Mars’ surface.
“What happens next is a whole new set of scientific questions. Is that life like us? How are we related? Can life move from planet-to-planet or do we have a spark and just the right environment and that spark generates life – like us or do not like us – based on the chemical environment that it is in?” adds Dr. Green.
In a study presented by Michael Way at the European Planetary Science Congress – Division for Planetary Sciences Joint Meeting 2019 in Geneva earlier this month, he said that Venus had likely maintained stable temperatures and hosted liquid water for billions of years before an event triggered extreme changes in the planet.
“Our hypothesis is that Venus may have had a stable climate for billions of years. It is possible that the near-global resurfacing event is responsible for its transformation from an Earth-like climate to the hellish hothouse we see today,” said Way.
“We need more missions to study Venus and get a more detailed understanding of its history and evolution. However, our models show that there is a real possibility that Venus could have been habitable and radically different from the Venus we see today. This opens up all kinds of implications for exoplanets found in what is called the Venus Zone, which may in fact host liquid water and temperate climates,” Way adds.
Dr. Green has also added that based on research, civilizations could exist on other planets.
There is no reason to think that there isn’t civilisations elsewhere, because we are finding exoplanets all over the place,” added the NASA chief.
The remarks by Dr. Green came a day before Elon Musk revealed a SpaceX spacecraft that was designed to carry both crew and cargo to Mars or to other planets in the solar system.
Musk has said that his company wanted to introduce a spacecraft that can be reusable. He said this would be vital for feasible space travel in the future.
The new spacecraft called Starship is expected to launch for the first time ever in about two months. It is expected to reach 65,000 feet before it lands back on Earth.