An otherwise routine House of Representatives hearing took a strange turn today when a Congressman asked NASA if Mars could have once been home to an ancient civilization.
The odd exchange occurred during a meeting of the House committee of Science, Space, and Technology after NASA scientist Ken Farley detailed plans for the space agency's next Mars rover mission.
Responding to Farley's testimony that Mars appears to have once possessed a vast amount of water in its distant past, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher of California posed the rather intriguing question.
"You've indicated that Mars was totally different thousands of years ago," the politician mused, "is it possible that there was a civilization on Mars thousands of years ago?"
Appearing somewhat amused by the question, Farley responded that he was unaware of any evidence for such a scenario.
Lest one think that Rohrabacher inquiry was in jest, rest assured that the representative was quite serious and pressed the issue a bit further by asking, "would you rule that out?"
Farley's answer was, unfortunately, rather definitive as he replied, "I would say that is extremely unlikely."
While Mars anomaly enthusiasts may be disappointed with how the exchange unfolded, perhaps they can take solace in the fact that the idea of ancient aliens living on the Red Planet actually managed to find its way into the halls of Congress even if it wasn't the answer they hoped to hear.