Airdate: Dec 15, 2008
Scientist: Nathalie Cabrol
KSC SETI - Earth Martians!
Looking for Martians? Ooh, there's one in the mirror!
“We don’t know if we are Martian or Earthling, but no matter what, we are here on this planet and asking the question about our origin now.”
Who knows? Life on Earth could have originated on Mars. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet. Nathalie Cabrol is a planetary geologist working with NASA and the SETI Institute. That’s stands for the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. Her specialty is Mars.
“As we are studying other planets and learning more about how they evolved, we know that planets were formed by collision of very small pieces and then bigger pieces. But some of the impact were so strong that big chunks of planets were just thrown away and left the planet of origin. And we call this planetary exchange, and that happened a lot at the beginning of the history of the solar system.”
Now, no one is suggesting that Martians landed on earth and evolved into humans. But it’s possible that Martian rocks or other debris carrying microorganisms crashed into earth and brought life onto our planet.
“Conditions were so similar on Mars and on the Earth at the very beginning, and we know that pieces of rocks from Mars are making it to the Earth, because we have those Martian meteorites in our museum, that we started wondering what if life on Earth had originated, in fact, on Mars and had found a better oasis here on Earth to develop and thrive. So, this is really an intriguing question now.”
If you know of any third to sixth graders who are interested in the search for life in outer space, have them check out kidsciencechallenge.com. It’s a nationwide competition where kids come up with their own ideas for scientists like Nathalie Cabrol. And if their idea is chosen, they get to see it turned into a reality. That’s kidsciencechallenge.com.
Pulse of the Planet is made possible by the National Science Foundation. I’m Jim Metzner.