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Ask the White House - 2004 Guests Ask the White House Archives
March 25, 2003 | 8:27 a.m.(EST)

Q: Ashley, from Philadelphia, PA.:
What is your reaction to today's news that the economy expanded at a 4.1 percent in the first quarter?

Scott McClellan A: Scott McClellan, White House Press Secretary:
That's another sign that the economy is strong and growing stronger. We're seeing sustained economic growth. Obviously, there are people that are still looking for work that cannot find work, and we need to continue to act to make sure that we're creating as robust an environment for job creation as possible.

We've had six straight months of new jobs being created. Job & Economic Growth logo The unemployment rate at 5.6 percent is below the average of the '70s, '80s, and '90s. Productivity is high; disposable income is up. The economy is strong and growing stronger. It's moving in the right direction.

March 24, 2003 | 11:15 a.m.(EST)

Q: Ron, from El Cajon, California:
What do you think of today's reports that there was a sea on Mars? Do you believe there was life on Mars? Could there still be life on Mars?

Sean O'Keefe A: Sean O'Keefe, NASA Administrator:
We think the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity is in the vicinity of what was once a shoreline of a salty sea on the red planet. If we are correct in our interpretation, this was once a habitable environment. It's a salt flat. A magnified view from NASA's Opportunity rover offers evidence that the rover sits on the shoreline of what was once a salty sea on Mars. Rippled patterns in the rocks at Meridiani Planum suggest that the land there was once a salt flat or playa, sometimes covered by shallow water and sometimes dry. Telltale patterns called crossbedding and festooning, in which some layers within a rock lie at angles to the main layers, led scientists to the conclusion that the rippled shapes formed under a current of water -- and not wind. Image Credit: NASA/JPL/Cornell/USGS

These are the kinds of environments that are suitable for life on Earth, but we don't know if that was the case on Mars. We have not found any evidence of past life on Mars, but we will continue our efforts to gather data, and maybe eventually answer that intriguing question.

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