HOUSTON—Seeking to raise the bar for achievements in space, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine wants the U.S. to lead the team that someday discovers extraterrestrial life. “As the head of a science agency, I’m not making any declarations,” he during a speech last week at Rice University here, his alma mater. “But should life be found on another world, and the probability is getting higher, I believe it should be the United States of America that finds it ...

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