NASA head: 'I'm not saying there's life on Mars, but we should find out'

NASA Administrator Jim BridenstineJames (Jim) Frederick BridenstineIs this any way for NASA to build a lunar lander? Making space exploration cool again In-space refueling vs heavy lift? NASA and SpaceX choose both MORE told Hill.TV on Friday that evidence of water and other environmental factors on Mars means researchers should leave no stone unturned in their search for Martian life.

“We have found liquid water — 12 kilometers under the surface of the Mars,” Bridenstine said during an interview on “Rising.”

“What do we know about liquid water?” he asked. “Anywhere it exists on Earth, there’s life.”

“I’m not saying there’s life on Mars, but we should find out,” Bridenstine added.

Bridenstine said scientists have also discovered complex organic components on the surface of mars, the presence of an ocean in its northern hemisphere and the existence of methane cycles. 

"We have discovered that the methane cycles of Mars are commiserate with the seasons of Mars," he said. "Again increasing the probability that we could find life on a world that’s not our own."

The idea of life existing on Mars has intrigued people for centuries. But, since no humans have successfully made the journey, exploration has been limited.

The U.S. and other countries, however, have been sending spacecraft to orbit or land on Mars since the 1960s, and, through each mission, scientists have been able to learn more about the mysterious planet.

"Mars used to be a lot like Earth," Bridenstine said said. "So by studying Mars, we can learn about our own planet." 

Bridenstine joined “Rising” to discuss the NASA’s latest efforts to send more Americans to the moon by 2024, including the first woman, as part of Apollo’s twin project Artemis.

He emphasized that NASA hopes to use the moon as a training ground and test site before a human mission to Mars at a later date.

“The value of the moon is that it’s a three-day journey there and a three-day journey home and wherever the Earth is around the sun, the moon is with us, which means we can use it as a proving ground,” he told Hill.TV.

This week marks the 50-year anniversary since Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong became the first two people to set foot on the moon.

Aldrin shared a photo of him and his fellow astronauts on Thursday to mark the historic mission.

“Exactly 50 years ago today, we were on our way to the Moon! It was an honor to work with this crew and a privilege to complete the mission of a lifetime,” he tweeted.

—Tess Bonn