Life on Mars

"The Biggest discovery in the history of science!" That’s what NASA officials are calling it. Carl "billions and billions of years" Sagan called the discovery "Glorious!" Well… don’t be misled by the headlines. Read on. Read between the lines. Ask the right questions. Believe your Bible.

Lets take this one step at a time:

First of all, where was this supposed evidence of extraterrestrial life found? It was found in an ancient Martian meteorite, labeled Allan Hills or ALH 84001. The 4.5 billion year old meteorite was found in Antarctica in 1984. Oh yeah, one other thing. This trek to earth actually began 15 million years ago when an asteroid knocked the rock from Mars into space, where it was drawn into orbit around the sun. Then about 13,000 years ago, drawn by gravitational pull from the other planets, the rock goes into orbit around the Earth. Finally it fell into earth’s atmosphere and landed in Antarctica. (We won’t even get into the radiometric dating problems here. That is another whole article). Sound amazing. Well you better believe it. You can log into NASA’s World Wide Web page and even see a video of the event, (reconstructed, of course). Since the reporter covering the story at the time is probably dead, how do we even know that this meteorite is even from Mars???

Lets move on. What was really found inside this rock? Microscopic fossils? No. It takes a pretty good imagination to stretch formations in the rock that far, (and some are doing just that). After all, if people could see that face on the surface of Mars made famous by the supermarket tabloids, then they could see anything. But they did find traces of organic compounds. Scientists say these organic compounds are the elements necessary for life to exist, and could also be by-products of life forms. Sounds logical, but don’t get too carried away. You could also say that humans give off carbon dioxide, and that since carbon dioxide is found in soda pop, that there were once humans living in vats of Dr. Pepper.

We’ll take this one step further for the Christian who may still be shook up if bacteria is ever actually found on another planet. So what! That doesn’t mean that it evolved from a primordial soup of elements energized by prehistoric bolts of lightning. If it was there, it is because God created it there. For what purpose? Who knows. Perhaps only to produce waste gases that make the heavenly bodies pleasing to look at. And on another topic, little bacteria are by no means a "simple" life form. With all his technology and super computers, man has never created even a single living, self-sustaining, reproducing cell. The tiniest creatures speak of the glory of the Creator.

There are however some interesting points about what we have discovered about life, and about the universe in general. We see common elements in meteorites. We see DNA in small single-celled organisms as well as in us humans. That does not indicate a single point of origin like the so-called "big bang." It just says God created some pretty great building blocks and then used them throughout His creation. I call it the Lego universe. Legos are the greatest toy around. You can make anything out of them. Your imagination is the limit. Those little odd-shaped pieces of plastic are great for building a car or a firehouse or a dragon.

One final thing to note here needs to be mentioned. Aside from space shuttle flights, you don’t hear much about the space program these days. They sure could use a shot in the arm. Isn’t it interesting that while "Life on Mars" was the big headline, the sidebar talked about the proposed "Pathfinder" mission to Mars which was scheduled for launch late this year. (It is scheduled to land on July 4, 1997). . I’ll bet this Pathfinder costs more than the one you may be driving. NASA had also already planned to send 10 spacecraft to Mars over the next decade. NASA would like to have a probe dig beneath the surface of Mars to look for life deep underground, but that type of robotic mission to return samples from Mars could not be mounted before the year 2005. But who knows? With this type of excitement, maybe things can be hurried along.

Even among all the hype, there are some scientists who are not as enthusiastic or certain as others about the findings. Even the promoters are using the standard terms like: "indicates, possible, could be, may have, far from conclusive, resemble, theorize, opinion, and of course - demands further scientific investigation."

Even so, President Clinton seemed convinced. He said the discovery was "stunning." He reiterated his support for the planned unmanned trips to Mars, and called on Vice President Al Gore to convene a bi-partisan summit in November to discuss the future of the U.S space program. Clinton was also quoted as saying that the U.S. space program would "put its full intellectual power and technological prowess behind the search for further evidence of life on Mars." Wow! What a statement! Imagine what we could do here on earth with that kind of support for needy projects!

Could there be ulterior motives to any of this? How could you think so poorly of our governmental servants?!

Bill Mazeika 1997

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