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Mars findings 'make space travel important' says Parmitano

Italian astronaut says life beyond Earth 'probable'

09 December, 18:26
Mars findings 'make space travel important' says Parmitano (see related) (ANSA) - Rome, December 9 - Astronaut Luca Parmitano, who became the first Italian to walk in space earlier this year, said Monday that the findings that Mars could have hosted life make it even more necessary to one day send a human to the planet. "Now the reason to put our feet in the red sand of Mars is even stronger," he said. Earlier Monday Science magazine reported that the rover Curiosity had found traces of the basic building blocks needed to sustain simple bacteria on the Red Planet. "It's a boost to human exploration, a spark capable of triggering an emotional fire, especially at a time like this, in which space travel seems like a luxury we can do without.

"The desire to press onward with space travel is completely valid given we're not searching for unicorns at the end of the rainbow. Mars is quite a strategic target". When asked whether he believed life exists beyond Earth, Parmitano said it was likely.

"It's possible and probable, considering the enormous number of stars and planets, that something we can compare to what we call life exists. "It's our imagination that falls short, not nature".