Someone’s been watching too much “Ancient Aliens.”
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) took a moment during a committee meeting with NASA scientists on Tuesday to ask if there’s any evidence of long-lost civilizations on Mars in relatively recent history.
“You have indicated that Mars was totally different thousands of years ago,” he asked Ken Farley, project scientist for NASA’s Mars 2020 rover mission. “Is it possible that there was a civilization on Mars thousands of years ago?”
Farley, however, had not referred to any difference on Mars “thousands of years ago,” and set the record straight.
“So, the evidence is that Mars was different billions of years ago, not thousands of years ago,” he answered, in a clip posted online by Space.com.
“Billions, well, yes,” Rohrabacher interjected.
“There’s no evidence that I’m aware of,” Farley said.
“Would you rule that out? See, there’s some people, well, anyway,” Rohrabacher added.
“I would say that is extremely unlikely,” Farley concluded.
See the exchange above.
NASA says the Mars 2020 rover mission will attempt to address “high-priority science goals for Mars exploration,” including the search for life.
The mission overview states:
“The mission takes the next step by not only seeking signs of habitable conditions on Mars in the ancient past, but also searching for signs of past microbial life itself. The Mars 2020 rover introduces a drill that can collect core samples of the most promising rocks and soils and set them aside in a ‘cache’ on the surface of Mars.”
Mars 2020 is scheduled for launch in the summer of 2020, arriving on the red planet the following February. The mission is expect to last roughly one Martian year, or 687 days on Earth.
(h/t Los Angeles Times)