The House Committee of Science, Space, and Technology meeting is normally something of a staid affair wherein representatives from the space agency NASA are grilled about the nuts and bolts of ongoing projects and budget allocation. However, this week things took a turn for the esoteric when NASA representatives were grilled by a congressman about whether Mars could have ever been home to an ancient civilization.

NASA scientist grilled about life on Mars by a congressman

The meeting began ordinarily enough, with one of NASA’s top scientists Ken Farley appeared in front of the House committee to update representatives about the plans for the next Mars rover mission. In the course of his testimony to the House, Farley told the congressmen that it appears as though the Red Planet was once the home to a vast body of water in the distant past. This revelation prompted Rep. Dana Rohrabacher of California to dig deeper.

“You’ve indicated that Mars was totally different thousands of years ago, “the politician asked of Farley, “is it possible that there was a civilization on Mars thousands of years ago?” Farley responded that he did not have any evidence to suggest that an alien civilization had ever populated the Red Planet and appeared to be rather amused by the line of questioning. However, Rohrabacher was undeterred and questioned Farley as to whether to he would rule out the possibility of there ever having been an ancient civilization on Mars. In response, Farley said, “I would say that is extremely unlikely.”

It is believed that in the distant past, Mars was a habitable planet with a strong atmosphere that would have possibly allowed for the development of extra-terrestrial life. However, no evidence has ever been discovered which suggests that intelligent life once roamed the surface of the Red Planet and scientists believe that if there was life on Mars that it would probably only be microbial.