An expert panel of the National Research Council were tasked with planning space exploration in the next decade and prioritizing future planetary missions. After interviews with the world’s top planetary scientists, the panel produced The Planetary Science Decadal Survey The survey concluded that exploring icy planets, lunar oceans and martian soil should rank high on NASA’s to-do list. Steven Squyres of Cornell University, the panel’s chair, recently detailed the report in an interview with PBS NewsHour Science Correspondent Miles O’Brien.
“Are we alone? How does life first arise? … What we need [to answer those questions] is rocks that we can put in our laboratories … that we have chosen for the maximum potential of preserving evidence of ancient Martian life.” –Steven Squyers