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NASA's Mars rover touches down on The Read planet

We are on mars, again and in a country, and a world that's getting buffeted by political storms and in the united states very real ones. I see conditions throughout much of the continental united states, and I see political conditions in Washington it is sometimes wise to look up in the sky and see something good something that the united states of America have done for the eighth time. 

We are on the martian surface although this is not your usual trip. We are there with a combination rover and helicopter and eventually a means by which samples that will be collected from the Martian surface will eventually infuse your emissions be returned to earth it is staggering everything that had to go well in that seven minutes from orbit to touching down on the jezero crater believed maybe some billions of years ago to have sustained water or the means of life. 

It is going to be digging into that sediment which can well see why NASA was digging all that it was hearing this was welcome news there are landings and then there are historic ones like this welcome everybody I'm Neil cavuto and you're out of this world today, uh to put this in perspective this was like trying to throw a dart from new york to Washington sight unseen and hit it right in the middle that is a generous comparison statistically something like this has never been done before and this at a time when right as we speak right now china and the united Arab emirates have spacecraft circling mars at this time and eventually aim to land on that martian surface in the very near future. 

We are there right now this is the 8th successful martian mission for the united states out of nine attempts the mars polar lander crashed on entry but still was able to record results back in 1999 but other countries haven't come close to what is being mastered here but this is a global achievement and the magnitude of it and getting back to the idea that we can find life and maybe the origins of life and hints that we are not alone is staggering the possibility some of the things that will make this interesting and I want to pick up with the former NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine of the fact that this will include the use of a helicopter you heard me right but it's not your traditional helicopter and a rover and cameras lots of them 4k quality and more than a dozen of them. 

Oh yeah and something else two microphones to pick up sound on the martian surface I don't know why someone never came up with that idea in the first place but now it's going to be there Jim Braden's fine very good to have you thank you i feel great to be here express enough same here Jim I cannot express enough just how remarkable this is this isn't like any other mission I think we've ever seen the unmanned variety there's a lot that they had to do just right and they did it just right in this landing what do you think it's amazing and i want to start by congratulating the NASA workforce and our contractors the jet propulsion lab Caltech all of the partners that helped put this together. 

What an amazing day for NASA and for the united states your level of excitement Neil is palpable and I hope all of America feels that same way think about this all of those missions that came before that you mentioned this is the eighth time we've landed on mars all of those missions that came before we learned that mars at one time the northern hemisphere was covered in water two-thirds of it were covered in the water we know that it had a thick atmosphere that it had a magnetosphere that protected it from the radiation of deep space we know these things because of these past missions but now for the first time we actually sent an astrobiology mission to if there was in fact past life on Mars and just in the last two years.

Neil, we have discovered that mars are covered in complex organic compounds the building blocks of life exist all over mars they, of course, exist all over the earth but they're not on the moon at all zero on the moon but they're all over mars and they're all over the earth we also know that mars very well could have had could, in fact, it does have even today water liquid water 12 kilometers under its surface and we know that the methane cycles of mars match the seasons of mars. 

All of this conspires to say that the probability of finding life in another world is going up and it's going up rapidly so it is perfectly appropriate that now we are sending an astrobiology mission to mars and we're going to one of the hardest places to land this is why it's so important to congratulate the NASA workforce. 

They landed in the jezero crater but not just in the jezero crater at the river delta that there is evidence of an ancient river there and that river delta that flows into the crater which used to be a lake bed landing in that is one of the hardest things NASA has ever done and it appears as of right now it appears that they have successfully done that the reason that matters is if there is a chance to find signs of ancient life that is the place to find it so this is a very exciting day for NASA for the united states and certainly from me uh congratulations to the amazing work of the NASA team. 

Yeah, I remember you were in the planning days for this Jim but what makes it remarkable is i i was thinking you know it's landing in this crater there are all sorts of boulders and everything there it's been well you know photographed and also it was already fed all of this data to try to be like the Neil Armstrong of this vehicle where in his case in 1969 he was landing on the moon at a girly base he discovered boulders and and and rocks that he had to on his own re-navigate that landing a little bit but that was something that he saw this was essentially trouble and act accordingly and it was like a sequence you needed the heat shield and everything had to be balanced and the degree hit coming in through the martian surface you needed the parachute then the rocket thrusters than the sky crane that lowered it into the crater and to avoid all those rocks in the crater. 

If I'm watching this and I know there's an 11-minute delay just to get the signal back I'm having palpitations at cape Canaveral I'm sure that's right you've been through these sort of things you are too right, yeah and what makes this even more unique is the actual touchdown itself was done under autonomous terrain relative navigation so think of a spacecraft that can actually see the surface and then make smart decisions and all of this is done autonomously on a vehicle that was launched back in July so this is again one of the most complex things NASA has ever done and it appears I want to be clear we haven't seen the pictures just yet but it appears that they have nailed it. 

So it's pretty exciting yeah now we're gonna wait for that first image and you don't want you to know some people like oh my god what if it landed upside down it doesn't look like that's the case so we don't know but we'll see but the helicopter thing Jim just blows me away this thing can fly for 90 seconds at a time 16 feet in the air I guess it's going to take some aerial photos um and it can deal with the harsh Russian atmosphere which is mostly carbon dioxide right and then all the cold it's over 137 degrees below zero that's got to be one strong little helicopter. 

It is I'll tell you it's very light it's about four pounds and of course um it's unlike any other helicopter in the sense that the atmosphere on mars is about 1 100th that of the atmosphere here on earth which means it's the aerodynamics are very different but here's what's fundamentally transformational how we explore worlds in the future if this helicopter works to be clear this is a technology demonstrator but if it works this can fundamentally transform how we do an exploration of other worlds in the future and right now. 

We have a mission called dragonfly that's going to you know a moon of Saturn called Titan and we're going to actually try to fly a helicopter on another moon of another world um to get more science and more data than we've ever been able to get before so this is just this is a great time in space exploration um and if this little helicopter uh we call it ingenuity named by a student um if this little helicopter is successful it's going to transform how we do exploration you know what I think is really cool Jim is that you're gonna die in the back of my mind what have you landed on somebody gets off of me I'm just saying that but um that's right I always thought why didn't you do that before um it seems like such a neat thing I I'm looking forward as much to here as I am to see uh you know these images and sounds coming you know from the martian that's right and we're going to be able to get all kinds of weather data. 

If you can imagine that so when fox news does its weather broadcasting you guys are going to call Jim Bridenstine and you're going to say hey what's the weather like on Mars and we'll be able to tell you the temperature the pressure the humidity we'll be able to share with you what the dust storms are doing there are all kinds of great sensors on this thing that it's really transformational but more important than anything else yeah the capability of assessing whether or not there is ancient life on mars it'll be transformational because if we do find that evidence it's gonna I would imagine you know there's gonna be a lot of enthusiasm for NASA's budgets to increase and for us to go do even more spectacular things. 

The question is going to be if we find that there was ancient life in another world the question is going to be where else is it and what else does life look like that's not on earth you know obviously we haven't made that discovery just yet but certainly if that discovery happens it's important that that discovery is made by the united states of America and our partners and that we leverage that discovery to go add chapters to science books and history books and that's what this is all about just amazing.

It's been 50 years right I mean you know we first made you know these attempts at surf you know circle mars and land on Mars and biking in the 70s and here we are now with rovers and helicopters and return flights to bring rocks back it's just incredible Jim thank you so much for taking the time your enthusiasm young man is palpable so thank you my honor all right Jim Bridenstine. 

I want to go to uh dr Michio Cocco talk about a guy who's enthusiastic about this all over the possibilities of this long before most uh doctor so good to have you you know what is amazing if you think about it is is eventually the goal is to get these samples specimens you know sediment and all that back to earth for to be studied now it won't be done with this mission but follow-up missions that are already being choreographed to hook up if this thing you know blasts off the surface transfers a lot of this stuff to these new rockets and back to the earth that is unprecedented what do you make of it that's right think of rock retrieval as a dress rehearsal a mini dress rehearsal for astronaut retrieval the steps that we're going to use to bring back rocks that is have a lander there collect samples have an orbiter go back to the orbiter back to the planet earth those are the same steps necessary to put humans on Mars and bring them back alive. 

So I see this as a mini dress rehearsal for the ultimate exploration human exploration of mars remember that in 2024 or so we're going to go back to the moon perhaps build an orbiter around the moon from which to build a mars rocket or if you're Elon musk why not do it in just one big jump so when you see this mars mission realize that this is the beginning, not the end the beginning of a new era of space exploration in the first era we beat the Russians okay we did it we beat the Russians in the second era we're going into outer space to stay in outer space before the universe you know john Kennedy once famously said it is in man's blood to look to the stars to conquer the stars. 

He could have just as easily talked about planets and satellites like the moon but this is one leap in a direction and complicated it so much by these very precise features to get this going and down to this rover that will span the mode the martian surface then this helicopter um that will be you know not only taking a look at images but giving us heretofore sites unseen what are some of the things you're looking for professor are looking forward to well you know rock retrieval is going to be a game-changer because we know that the conditions of mars once upon a time a few billion years ago. 

It had seas it had oceans but did it have life and this could actually answer that key question are we alone that is is life only on the planet earth or is it in outer space and just remember this has other implications as well the dinosaurs did not have a space program and that's why they're not here today to talk about it they didn't have a mars program they didn't explore other worlds and they paid the price they're no longer here we do have a mars program we do have a space program and this shows the ingenuity of NASA engineers shows the tremendous technological superiority that we have in this country. 

Professor, i'm so glad to have you today um you just put the right enthusiastic punch to it and it is a historic day thank you we're waiting for that first image to come uh from the spacecraft here but I'm so reminded of my friend gene Cernan the last man to walk on the moon who said you know Neil we are born to explore we are born to acknowledge the times we live in and that we can't do this or won't do this this this attaches to our better assets our better possibilities our better frame of mind when you push your mind when you reach for the stars when you grasp an opportunity like this when everyone says this is impossible moments ago we learned something it is not and moments ago we also learned that though it is very very cold in much of the Atlantic coast right now we're in new york city it's 28 degrees could be a little worse on mars right now it's 137 degrees below zero stay with us

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