Mars 2020 Rover: Sloppy Reporting, Lazy Websites, Quaint Opinions

When -- or if -- NASA finds life on Mars, the world may not be ready for the discovery, the agency chief says, CNN

"NASA's next mission to Mars will be its most advanced yet. But if scientists discover there was once life -- or there is life -- on the Red Planet, will the public be able to handle such an extraterrestrial concept? NASA chief scientist Jim Green doesn't think so. "It will be revolutionary," Green told the Telegraph. "It will start a whole new line of thinking. I don't think we're prepared for the results. We're not." The agency's Mars 2020 rover, set to launch next summer, will be the first to collect samples of Martian material to send back to Earth. But if scientists discover biosignatures of life in Mars' crust, the findings could majorly rock astrobiology, said Green, the director of the Planetary Science Division at NASA."

Keith's note: Sloppy work from CNN. Jim Green is not the "agency chief" as the headline claims.Jim Bridenstine is. Nor is Green the director of the Planetary Science Division at NASA. Lori Glaze is. He is the NASA Chief Scientist. As for Green's comments, this article recycles quotes published by UK papers who are known to skew things and write articles about other articles. Now CNN is writing articles about other articles.

Oddly, while the article refers to NASA's search for life as "astrobiology" (which is correct), the Mars 2020 rover website never mentions the word "astrobiology" nor does it link to any NASA Astrobiology websites. If you google "Jim Green NASA" The first search result is a NASA page titled "Dr. Jim Green, Planetary Science Division Director" so its not CNN's fault that they said this - I guess. 2 Oct Update - they fixed the link to reflect Jim Green's current position - but only after I pointed this out.

As for "not being prepared for the results" Green is entitled to his own opinion. I do not think this is NASA's stance on this issue. Nor is it what most astrobiologists I know think.

If NASA can't get is own story straight in terms of what its spokespeople and websites say and who is in charge of what, then how are news media going to be able convey an accurate message?

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This page contains a single entry by Keith Cowing published on October 1, 2019 4:57 PM.

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