NASA has made the search for extraterrestrial life a priority and recent findings point to high hopes that this attempt will come soon, Bridenstine said last week during a ceremony announcing the death of its Opportunity Mars.
The NASA leader suitably identified Mars as a chiefly promising abode for life, given its potential. He highlighted three fascinating discoveries; the surface of the red planet is home to complex organic molecules, components of life-based on carbon; in at least some places, potential biogenic methane gas varies by season; and it seems that there is a huge liquid water lake underneath the south pole of Mars.
Neither of these observations guarantees that life exists, or has existed, on Mars, but it increases the probability, Bridenstine said.
Opportunity and its twins, Spirit, played a key role in this intensified hunting for life on Mars. The two solar-powered rovers were separated for a few weeks in January 2004, with 90-day missions in search of hints of water movement.
The two six-wheeled robots found much of the evidence, confirming that scientists understood that the red planet in the past was a very different world and probably livable. And the pair continued to roll past the due dates. NASA declared the death of Spirit in 2011 and Opportunity was swept away by a monstrous dust storm in June 2018.
NASA is also considering dropping a probe on Titan, Saturn’s huge moon, aiming another terrain that can sustain life. This mission, called Dragonfly, would investigate Titan’s complex chemistry, where organic matter is transformed into a thick atmosphere dominated by nitrogen, which scientists say is similar to that of the early Earth.