NASA’s Bobak Ferdowsi Celebrates Mars Curiosity Rover Anniversary and Discusses Life On Other Planets

NASA's Bobak Ferdowsi Celebrates Mars Curiosity Rover Anniversary and Discusses Life On Other Planets
By Amanda Walgrove
  • NASA’s Bobak Ferdowsi, aka Mohawk Guy, VSauce2’s Kevin Lieber, Sourcefed’s Meg Turney and Nerdist’s Matt Mira join the Geek Week Brainiac Day panel to celebrate the one year anniversary of the Mars Rover landing!

    Having worked on the Curiosity mission for a little over nine years, Bobak makes the perfect party guest and source of information for our Curiosity rover celebration! He puts the historic landing into perspective for us by pointing out that with Mars landing missions, NASA had only a 2/3 success rate before Curiosity.

    Once they landed safely last summer, his team was able to make their first drill on the Mars surface and find that the planet had a habitable environment in the past.

    “The idea that life could’ve survived on another planet – not just Earth – that still blows my minds,” Bobak says. “I think the odds of life are pretty good out there.”

    Now, what big questions do we still need to answer? “I think we want to get that history of Mars. We’re looking at going towards Mount Sharp,” he says. “We’ll work our way up these layers and each one of those layers will give us a little bit of the story of Mars’ past.” He adds, “What’s amazing about Mars is actually it’s a better preservation of the early solar system than Earth is, because life has kind of mucked everything up here on Earth.”

    Bobak notes that even though finding evidence of water was the big reason to land on Mars, there’s still much more to learn in terms of the evolution of the planet. “Was it much wetter? How wet was it at different times in Mars history? When did the water sort of disappear on Mars?”

    So, how about the possibility of life on Mars now – or even on other planets? “That’s going to be the successor 2020 mission,” Bobak says. “The 2020 mission will actually start carrying the instruments to look for life.”

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