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NASA “shameful” in not looking harder for alien life?

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<em>Coffee</em> Tins From New Scientist:

“NASA has been shameful in not searching for extraterrestrial life and at the same time claiming that’s one of the motivations for their programmes,” says Chris McKay, an astrobiologist at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California. “The Mars programme counts life as the reason for the programme, and then the missions NASA implements don’t even approach the question at all.”

McKay cites the example of the upcoming Mars 2020 rover, which will primarily search for signs that life once existed on the Red Planet. Rather than hunting for alien microbes today, the rover will set aside samples that NASA hopes some future mission will bring back to Earth, where we can probe them for signs of past or present life. McKay thinks this is a terrible mistake.

And he’s not alone. As well as many other scientists who support the search for life elsewhere, it tops the lists of the most exciting questions driving science today for people outside the field. More.

Question: Are these people willing to grasp the possibility that we might be alone? For whatever reason. Sometimes they remind one of the heartbroken woman who finally has to be told by her friends, “Face it, he’s just not that into you.”

Well, we’ll see.

See also: How do we grapple with the idea that ET might not be out there?

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