Astrobiology (general)

Pam Melroy Thinks That Finding Life Elsewhere In The Universe is “Inevitable”

By Keith Cowing
January 28, 2024
Filed under , , , , ,
Pam Melroy Thinks That Finding Life Elsewhere In The Universe is “Inevitable”
When asked about the prospect of finding life elsewhere in the universe NASA Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy said “I personally think its inevitable”. — CNN

On Saturday, 27 January 2024, NASA Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy appeared on CNN with Christiane Amanpour. A variety of topics such as warfare in space, safety, going to the Moon etc. were discussed but the one topic that got the most air time was Astrobiology – the search for life elsewhere in the universe. Here is a transcript of that portion of the interview:

Christiane Amanpour: “OK, so break some news for us here. How realistic is it, do you think, of finding life outside – and off – our planet? Let me just quote a couple of astronauts. Tim Peake recently on CNBC says that the James Webb Telescope may have already found alien life. We found a planet that seems to be giving off strong signals of biological life.”

Pam Melroy: “I personally think its inevitable. One of the things that’s been really transformative in planetary science over the last two or three decades is realizing that water, which is a critical building block of life, is much more present – even in our solar system – than we ever imagined. We thought asteroids were dry bodies that had absolutely no water. We had real questions even about the Moon. Now we’re finding it in places we didn’t expect seeing those building blocks. And then our recent sample return from the asteroid Bennu shows not just water but carbon, which is another critical building block of life. So I think its only a matter of time. I love the fact that we’re finding biosignatures potentially through James Webb space telescope. But the real benefit and the payoff is going to be when we go to Mars and see if we can find signs of life on our neighbor.”

Christiane Amanpour: “When will that be?”

Pam Melroy: “Well, I think it’s hard to know, frankly, what you don’t know yet. So we do know that it is our most interesting neighbor with the highest potential to find signs of life. So as far as human presence goes, we’re really trying to set up a blueprint and we’re going to practice it on the Moon. But I’d like to see us head to Mars, I think, with our plan by the early 2040s.”

Here is the full video:

Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA Space Station Payload manager/space biologist, Away Teams, Journalist, Lapsed climber, Synaesthete, Na’Vi-Jedi-Freman-Buddhist-mix, ASL, Devon Island and Everest Base Camp veteran, (he/him) 🖖🏻