The space agency is involved in a whole host of projects looking for traces of life elsewhere in the solar system, and has regularly speculated on how far away it might be discovering it.
On various planets and places throughout the universe, it has said there might be the possibility that life could flourish. But now it says that it is getting close to actually detecting traces of life.
As the space agency said goodbye to the Opportunity rover – which helped show that Mars is more active and interesting than we might have suspected – administrator Jim Bridenstine said that Nasa would continue to search for such life.
And, he said, it wasn’t that long away from discovering it. Future missions should allow scientists to collect samples from the Martian surface and hopefully bring them back to Earth, allowing them to look through in the hope of finding “biosignatures” left behind by living things.
“We’re going to be able to look at samples and determine if there’s a biosignature in there,” Bridenstine said in comments first reported by Space.com. “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.”
He noted that a whole host of observations from Mars showed that it could be a promising place for life to have once lived – or still be. It has been found to have the building blocks of life in complex organic molecules, as well as water floating beneath its surface.
Nasa hasn’t ever found evidence that life exists or even could exist on Mars or anywhere else in the universe. But they do suggest that it could be a better than expected place for it to be, and makes the discovery more likely.
“All of these things collude to say there is a lot we need to learn, and friends, we’re going to do it quickly,” Bridenstine said.
More about: NASA