Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Origin of Life Speculations: Mars Was Dry, No, It Was Wet

The past week saw the publication of two mutually discrepant theories of early Mars. Image courtesy of NASA.

Joel Kontinen

It’s not always easy to separate fact from fiction in science stories. Last week, one research team claimed that Earth’s life was seeded from Mars, as Mars was dry.

Then comes another team that says that Mars was wet.

According to New Scientist:

Both studies have brought renewed attention to the idea that life on Earth was seeded from space, a theory known as panspermia. However, they can't both be right. One idea requires Mars to be covered in liquid water, while the other needs it to be as dry as a desert.

The latest work focuses on phosphate, a molecule made up of one phosphorus atom and four oxygen atoms. Phosphates make up the structural backbones of DNA and RNA, and many complex organisms use a version called adenosine triphosphate (ATP) to store energy from food

Both theories speculate that RNA preceded DNA. However, there is no real evidence for this, so the views are not very scientific at all.

Why two competing views? Most researchers would acknowledge that life could hardly have originated on Earth, because of the presence of oxygen at a very early stage.

Thus, they have set their hopes on the Red Planet, because they do not want to admit the obvious – i.e., life on Earth was created by an all-powerful God, the Creator of the entire universe.


Grossman, Lisa. 2013. Martian soup may have been tasty to early life. New Scientist (1 September).