“The building blocks of life exist all over Mars,” former NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine told “Your World” Thursday as the Perseverance rover successfully landed on the Red Planet.
“Just in the last two years, Neil, we have discovered that Mars is covered in complex organic compounds,” Bridenstine told host Neil Cavuto
Bridenstine added that while such compounds ” exist all over the Earth … they are not on the moon at all … they are all over Mars and all over Earth.
The 2,260-pound rover — partly named in recognition of health care heroes due to the COVID-19 pandemic — landed at the Jezero Crater, a carefully-selected location for Perseverance’s mission in astrobiology.
The agency’s fifth Mars rover is tasked with searching for signs that microbial life may have lived on the planet billions of years ago, as well as collecting rock and soil samples that will eventually be returned to Earth.
The red planet contains 12 kilometers of liquid water below its surface, Bridenstine explained, “and we know that the methane cycles of Mars match the seasons of Mars.
“All of this conspires to say that the probability of finding life on another world is going up and it’s going up rapidly,” he told Cavuto, “so it is perfectly appropriate that now we are sending an astrobiology mission to Mars and we are going to one of the hardest places to land. This is why it is so important to congratulate the NASA workforce.”
Landing in the Jezero Crater was a historically risky move, with close to a 50% success rate. The mission carried more cameras than any interplanetary mission in history, with 19 on the rover and four on other parts of the spacecraft. A helicopter and two microphones make the rover the most technologically advanced robot that NASA has ever sent to Mars.
Cauto compared the historic achievement to” trying to throw a dart from New York to Washington sight unseen.”
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“Statistically, something like this had never been done before and … and the magnitude of it and getting back to the idea that we can find life and maybe the origins of life and hints that we are not alone, it’s staggering, the possibility.”
“If there is a chance to find signs of ancient life,” responded Bridenstine, “that is a place to find it.”
Fox News’ Julia Musto contributed to this report.