NASA’s ‘Astrobiology’ Interview with Mars’ Curiosity Chief Scientist January 14, 2014Posted by sandyclaus in Drake Revisited.
This is the first definitive habitable environment outside of Earth. Would you like to speak to that?
It feels pretty great. That’s always been the goal. Before Mars, we’ve been getting closer and closer all the time, and we’ve known that the very ancient [terrain] is the place to go to. We’ve done a decade of mapping from orbit and we’ve tried places on the ground with previous rovers. All of this has been adding up to an increasingly positive situation that we’ve now been finally able to demonstrate.
In principle, this is an ideal kind of habitable environment for microbes, so we feel really good about that. It\’s the kind of thing that you look at and you realize as a team that we really have been able to do something pretty profound. We benefited from all those that came before us. We had state-of-the-art equipment and we had an incredibly capable rover with what seemed to be a highly improbable landing configuration. So we took risks where we needed to take risks and they were always what we viewed to be relatively small risks, but being aggressive in that kind of exploration has paid off and we feel really, really good about it.