Scientist says we come from Mars, and NASA should bring back the evidence

Bill Nye, probably America’s best-known scientist, is lobbying the US government to give extra funding to NASA for a very unusual reason.

Nye wants to see rock samples from Mars brought back to Earth for analysis – because he thinks they will hold evidence of humanity’s Martian origins.

“If life started on Mars first, it’s extraordinary but not crazy to suggest that you and I are descendants of Martians. That is an extraordinary hypothesis,” he told Politico . “It’s not that much money to change the course of human history.”

He says that the balance of probabilities says that life in the Solar System originated on Mars, rather than Earth.

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“I’ve thought deeply about the idea," he says. "Mars is smaller than the Earth. It cooled off faster than the earth. It had an ocean and an atmosphere about a billion years before the Earth.

“So,” he says “it’s reasonable that life started on Mars first.”

Nye, who was an engineer for Boeing before finding success with his hit documentary series Bill Nye the Science Guy and Bill Nye Saves the World, said that overcoming Martian gravity to get samples off the surface of the Red Planet will be the biggest challenge.

“We’ve launched stuff off of the Moon , we’ve launched stuff off of asteroids . In fact it’s hard to keep things on asteroids there’s so little gravity. But getting off Mars,” he said “you’re going to need a lot of fuel to get into orbit. Then a NASA mission, the fourth mission in this sequence, will bring the samples back.”

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Nye said that the problem of contamination from potential Martian organisms is probably negligible, and could be dealt with anyway: “The first thing every congressman said is … Are they worried about contaminating the Earth with Martian dust? My answer is yes!

“If you thought of it, they thought of it. Those rocket scientists thought of it. When you look at other stuff coming back from asteroids, there was no contamination and no deadly organisms. The surface of Mars is quite sterile. Furthermore, you can plan for that. It’s not the end of the world."

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Addressing those who say that there are enough problems to be solved on Earth before we venture off-world, he said it would be a mistake to forget about space exploration: “We have all kinds of problems here on Earth, oh my goodness.

“But space brings out the best in us. Space is optimistic. If you stop looking up and out, what does that say about you? Whatever it is, it’s not good.”

NASA has requested $2.7 billion for planetary science missions in the next financial year. President Trump has already announced an ambitious programme , including work towards a permanent base on the Moon.

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