A panel of planetary experts from NASA was testifying before the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology as part of a public hearing when Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher posed quite an unexpected question.
“You have indicated that Mars had — was totally different thousands of years ago,” the California lawmaker said to Kenneth Farley, a scientist on NASA’s Mars Rover 2020 Project, after asking the sub-committee’s chair for extra time. “Is it possible that there was a civilization on Mars thousands of years ago?”
It is important to note the hearing was about the agency’s upcoming missions — including the Mars 2020 rover mission, scheduled for launch in the summer of 2020; the Europa Clipper, which will launch in the 2020s and explore if the Jupiter moon can actually sustain life; and Psyche mission, which will launch in 2022 to study the metal asteroid Psyche.
“So, the evidence is that Mars was different billions of years ago, not thousands of years ago,” Farley replied. “And there is no evidence I’m aware of that…”
However, Rohrabacher, an avid climate change-denier who has clearly been busy watching alien-invasion movies, interrupted him.
“Would you rule that out?” he pressed.
“I would say that is extremely unlikely,” Farley answered.
As the Space.com reported, the lawmaker’s question came after Farley had explained the presence of lakes and rivers on the Red Planet. However, that was about 3.6 billion years ago.
The internet, as always, did not waste time expressing their sentiments on the riveting discussion.
looking forward to full committee hearings featuring the ghost of Robert Stack as a witness— Brian L Kahn (@blkahn) July 18, 2017
Rep. John Carter of Mars https://t.co/UXiwsk3iqB— Ryan Teague Beckwith (@ryanbeckwith) July 18, 2017
That moment when you're not sure if the ancient Martian civilization question is a joke or if your agency's funding depends on your answer pic.twitter.com/Nh4Yxl6Sce— Brian L Kahn (@blkahn) July 18, 2017
His follow up question was regarding the quality of said Martians' dank weed.— Brandon Finnigan (@B_M_Finnigan) July 18, 2017
Dana Rohrabacher, the Mr. MaGoo of Congress— Rube Bait (@RubeBait) July 18, 2017
Is the moon really cheese? #StupidQuestionsForAstronauts— Sidharth Rao (@Sid12Rao) July 18, 2017
To watch the entire hearing, check out the video below:
Thumbnail Credits: Reuters/NASA/JPL-Caltech