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Seth Shostak, Senior Researcher for SETI and a leading astronomer, says life on Earth derives from life on Mars.

He writes : “It’s possible that billions of years ago, tiny bits of biology quit the Red Planet and infected ours. If so, your family tree — and that of every other terrestrial life form — has its deepest roots not in the ancient oceans of Earth, but in the vanished seas of Mars.”

Panspermia is a theory suggesting life on Earth was generated from micro-organisms coming not necessarily from other planets, but from outer space. Shostak reminds us the idea is very old but no scientist or astronomer could ever completely rule it out even today.

Some have even brought up the idea that microorganisms would be strong enough to travel through space and arrived here being carried by different forces along the cosmos, but Shostak disagrees and says no living organism could survive out there. He believes it would be much easier to make the journey if the organisms were buried inside sediments (rocks).

seth

After all, space is hardly benign: cosmic rays, extreme temperatures, and prolonged desiccation will relentlessly corrode any biology that takes too much time en route. Being inside a rock helps.”

This theory’ deriving from the one explained earlier, is called lithopanspermia.

Shostak says that if microorganisms somehow survived space travel, they couldn’t have done so for a very long period of time, so they’re likely to be from Mars, which is closest. He also points out that not long after the Big Bang, there was a period when the Earth was constantly showered with debris coming from Mars. Although most took longer, few of these rocks arrived here in just around a year. His opinion is that there could be living organisms tough enough to endure that amount of time in space.

Astrobiologists have identified terrestrial bacteria able to zone out in spore form for a million years. If you eventually put them in contact with water, they’ll come back to life like sea monkeys.”

In 2013, a biochemist and professor from the Westheimer Institute for Science and Technology called Steven Banner released a paper on the theory that life here came from Mars. He claims to have found proof that the red planet had safe enough environment to host life sometime long ago.

Scientific American responded:

The new argument, in a nutshell, is that young Mars had a more oxygen-rich atmosphere than Earth did 4 billion years ago, and was drier. This would have resulted in a different mineralogical surface environment, one that could have provided a catalyst for the assembly of key RNA molecules and all the biotic chemistry leading to life as we know it.

Subsequent asteroid impacts on Mars would have spewed chunks of rock into space, carrying life (presumably in microbial form) through the solar system and onto the surface of a youthful Earth.”

Scientists from the University of Sheffield believe human kind is already in possession of a multitude of such organisms and say more of them keep coming to our planet but we just haven’t been interested.

The evidence points towards theories that complex living organisms are falling from the skies to Earth,” professor Milton Wainwright declared last year for the Daily Express. “There is growing evidence that says this DNA comes from space and it is carried into our atmosphere on micro-meteorites before dissipating.”

panspermia

Lee Speigel also told the Huffington Post that : “I am absolutely convinced that life is not restricted to planet Earth because I have found the remains of life forms that are absolutely, conclusively extraterrestrial.” The organisms he’s referring to, of course, came from Mars.

Returning to Seth Shostak, he recently added: “As intriguing as it is, panspermia doesn’t offer any clues about life’s origins. Indeed, it only seems to push the problem of biology’s beginnings to another planet. But there’s this: If life can spread, then countless worlds could be encrusted with biology even if generating it in the first place is difficult or highly improbable.”

Next time something, no matter how small, falls on your shoulder, remember. It could be a martian.