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Basic Worldview:
103 Science, the Bible,
and Creation



Origins - Section Three:
Evolution, Another Planet


Origins - Section One: Introduction and the Basics
Origins - Section Two: Premature Dismissals
Origins - Section Two: Application of the Basics
Origins - Section Three: Creation
Origins - Section Three: Evolution, Origin of Life
Origins - Section Three: Evolution, Environment for Life 1
Origins - Section Three: Evolution, Environment for Life 2
Origins - Section Three: Evolution, Another Planet
Origins - Section Three: Evolution, Origin of Species
Origins - Section Three: Evolution, Speciation Factors
Origins - Section Three: Evolution, Speciation Rates
Origins - Section Four: Time and Age, Redshift
Origins - Section Four: Philosophical Preference
Origins - Section Four: Cosmological Model 1
Origins - Section Four: Cosmological Model 2
Origins - Section Four: Dating Methods, Perceptions, Basics
Origins - Section Four: Global Flood Evidence
Origins - Section Four: Relative Dating
Origins - Section Four: Dating and Circular Reasoning
Origins - Section Four: The Geologic Column
Origins - Section Four: Radiometric Dating Basics
Origins - Section Four: General Radiometric Problems
Origins - Section Four: Carbon-14 Problems
Origins - Section Four: Remaining Methods and Decay Rates
Origins - Section Four: Radiometric Conclusions, Other Methods
Origins - Section Five: Overall Conclusions, Closing Editorial
Origins - Section Five: List of Evidences Table
Origins Debate Figures and Illustrations


Evolution on the Origin of Life:
Relocating the Origin of Life to another Planet

All the factors outlined in the previous segment, including the arrival of the necessary chemical components, energy, and a safe environment, are why the origin of life without foresight is sometimes regarded as a highly unlikely or improbable event by evolutionary scientists themselves. And it is precisely these factors and the improbabilities that they create, which prompt evolutionary scientists to relocate the origin of life to some other planet besides earth. For this reason, it will be important to begin this segment by establishing the improbability of the origin of life by automatic, routine processes. It is also important to demonstrate, not only that evolutionary scientists assert this theory of life originating on another planet, but also that this theory is demonstrated to be unfeasible by evolutionary scientists as well. As in our previous segments, it will be important to establish these facts from secular sources, evolutionary scientists, and mainstream scientific magazines in order to demonstrate that the inclusion of this “off-world” hypothesis is not a biased description on our part but instead it is indeed a defining component of modern evolutionary theory.

Concerning the fact that evolutionists themselves regard the origin of life as highly improbable, Discover magazine and Britannica Encyclopedia provide the following quotes.

The origin of life depended on all sorts of accidental circumstances. Proving how it happened will take another piece of luck.” – “How Did Life Start?,” by Peter Radetsky, DISCOVER, Vol. 13 No. 11, November 1992, Biology & Medicine

Life, The origin of life, Hypotheses of origins – Most of the hypotheses of the origin of life will fall into one of four categories:[4] Life arose on the early Earth by a series of progressive chemical reactions. Such reactions may have been likely or may have required one or more highly improbable chemical events.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Likewise, the quote below indicates that even if an RNA molecule came about that was capable of self-replication, without the right “circumstances” (energy, components, environment) and “a long time” even this “chance combination” necessary to produce this RNA world “simply is not tenable.”

"The Beginnings of Life on Earth, Origin and Evolution of the RNA World – On the other hand, it is also surprising since these must have been sturdy reactions to sustain the RNA world for a long time. Contrary to what is sometimes intimated, the idea of a few RNA molecules coming together by some chance combination of circumstances and henceforth being reproduced and amplified by replication simply is not tenable. There could be no replication without a robust chemical underpinning continuing to provide the necessary materials and energy. The development of RNA replication must have been the second stage in the evolution of the RNA world. The problem is not as simple as might appear at first glance. Attempts at engineering--with considerably more foresight and technical support than the prebiotic world could have enjoyed--an RNA molecule capable of catalyzing RNA replication have failed so far." – “The Beginnings of Life on Earth,” Christian de Duve, American Scientist, September-October 1995

Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary defines “tenable” as “capable of being held, maintained, or defended” and “reasonable.”

"Tenable – Function: adjective: capable of being held, maintained, or defended: defensible, reasonable." - Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary

In other words, the “chances” for an RNA first theory are so improbable that this theory is not able to be “held, maintained, or defended” without “a lot of time” in the right environment with the right components and sufficient energy. In fact, according to the quote above, the occurrence of even one step toward the origin of life, the arrival of a molecule capable of self-replication, is so improbable that attempts to recreate this event in the lab using automatic, routine processes have failed even while employing “considerable amounts of foresight.”

The quote below indicates the improbability of the origin of life by stating that there had to be “billions of unsuccessful” attempts for life to originate before life actually occurred.

Cell, The evolution of cells – It is highly unlikely that scientists will ever re-create the crucial “experiment” that led to the origin of life. Billions of unsuccessful experiments must have been carried out in countless ponds and marshes before life first evolved, and these experiments lasted for hundreds of millions of years. During this period, conditions on Earth were different from those today.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

That means billions of failures for even 1 successful attempt, which creates a probability of billions to 1. A probability of a billion to 1 should not be brushed over quickly. This improbability is significant because events with odds of a billion to 1 are admittedly “impossibilities” according to evolutionary scientists. As we will see later on, when commenting on the possibility of life originating in another galaxy and then migrating to earth, Discover magazine refers to the odds of such an event as “one in a billion,” a probability which is quickly characterizes by saying, “Given those odds, the probability is virtually nil.”

“Still, migrating microbes face significant obstacles. Until recently, no researchers had evaluated every stage of the scenario. Then a Swedish scientist rounded up a team to do just that…They soon found that panspermia seems viable only within our own solar system. One hitch in the old theory, he explains, was that interstellar nomads would face lethal radiation from cosmic rays, which strike far more frequently beyond the sun's magnetic shield. Even more important, Mileikowsky's team has calculated the probability of ejected planetary material reaching Earth from elsewhere in the Milky Way or from another galaxy. ‘It is one in a billion,’ says Mileikowsky. Given those odds, the probability is virtually nil that even one ejecta from the galaxy with still-viable microorganisms on board could have arrived on Earth during its first 500 million years. So Mileikowsky concludes, ‘Our ancestor cell must have been created within our own planetary system or in a nearby sister system born at the same time.’” – “Did Life on Earth Come From Mars?,” by Robert Irion, DISCOVER, Vol. 22 No. 08, August 2001

So, as we can see, when evolutionists admit that the probability of life originating on earth by automatic, routine processes is a billion to 1, they are in fact affirming its virtual impossibility and placing it within an improbability range that, effectively, necessitates intelligent foresight.

In addition, the quote from Britannica also denotes that the origin of life on earth would require countless attempts lasting “hundreds of millions of years” and “under conditions” that “were different” than the modern earth.

Cell, The evolution of cells – It is highly unlikely that scientists will ever re-create the crucial “experiment” that led to the origin of life. Billions of unsuccessful experiments must have been carried out in countless ponds and marshes before life first evolved, and these experiments lasted for hundreds of millions of years. During this period, conditions on Earth were different from those today.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

These different conditions relate to the reasons for suggesting a more ideal environment on another planet. The basis for both suggestions is the same: the fact that the known environment on earth throughout its history provides significant obstacles to the origin of life by automatic, routine processes.

Furthermore, this timeframe of hundreds of millions of years for the unsuccessful attempts at life to eventually succeed is crucial. In terms of the human life span, hundreds of millions of years might seem like an enormous amount of time and opportunity for life to originate. But in geological terms it isn’t. To contrast how short of a time period “hundreds of millions of years” is for the “billions of unsuccessful” attempts at life, consider the following quotations concerning Jupiter.

Life, Extraterrestrial life, Venus and the superior planets – A similar speculation can be entertained with regard to the lower clouds of Jupiter. On Jupiter the atmosphere is composed of hydrogen, helium, methane, ammonia, and probably neon and water vapour. But these are exactly those gases used in primitive-Earth simulation experiments directed toward the origin of life…There is also an apparent absorption feature near 2,600 Å, in the ultraviolet spectrum of Jupiter, which has been attributed both to aromatic hydrocarbons and to nucleotide bases. In any event it is likely that organic molecules are being produced in significant yield on Jupiter; it is possible that Jupiter is a vast planetary laboratory that has been operating for 5,000,000,000 years on prebiological organic chemistry.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Jupiter, The outer layers, The atmosphere, Other likely atmospheric constituents

The initial chemical processes leading to the formation of living organisms on the Earth may have occurred in transient microenvironments that resembled the present chemical composition of Jupiter—without the enormous amount of hydrogen and helium. The active Jovian cloud system is known to be a source of lightning discharges, while solar ultraviolet radiation, precipitation of charged particles, and the internal energy of the planet are also available to drive chemical reactions in the Jovian atmosphere. Thus, Jupiter may well represent an enormous natural laboratory in which the initial steps toward the origin of life are being pursued again and again. – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

As the quotes above describe, Jupiter’s atmosphere is considered to be similar to that of the primitive earth at the time that life would have had to originate on earth. Jupiter is considered to have similar energy sources to fuel the origination of life. The phrase “likely that organic molecules are being produced in significant yield on Jupiter” indicates that Jupiter is considered to have critical pre-biotic compounds such as “nucleotide bases” in enough quantities to mark a notable “absorption” feature in its enormous atmosphere.

Yet despite these similarities and perhaps as much as 4 billion years more time, Jupiter’s similar conditions are said to be stuck as “the initial steps toward the origin of life are being pursued again and again” but without success so that Jupiter has remained in a “prebiological” stage for its entire 5 billion year existence. Even if we assume only 1 chance at the origin of life taking place every year in the presence of nucleotide bases and similar atmospheric conditions, that would be literally near 4 or 5 billion failed chances for life to emerge on Jupiter. If we assume 10 chances a year, that’s 40 or 50 billion failed chances for life. However, the article makes it sound as though these conditions are a frequent and ongoing aspect of Jupiter’s enormous atmosphere, implying that these chances for life are occurring all the time all over the atmosphere of Jupiter, which would result in literally trillions of failed attempts at life.

This gives us some insight into why evolutionists consider the “hundreds of millions of years” of time available for life on earth to be “too short” particularly in light of the complexities and obstacles outlined above for the origination of life on earth. These complexities and improbabilities are usually offset by the inclusion of additional time, which provides additional opportunities, thus reducing improbability. But due to the short time period available on earth as we saw already above, some evolutionists subscribe to the necessity for life not to have originated on earth but to have been transported to earth after first originating on some other planet where there was more time and fewer obstacles.

That’s worried people for the last 10 to 15 years, says Christopher Chyba, a planetary scientist based at NASA’s Ames Research Center, south of San Francisco. There seems to be a contradiction between the fact that we’re here and evidence that early Earth was not very hospitable to the formation of organics. How do you resolve the dilemma? One way is to take advantage of the fact that asteroids and especially comets are rich in organic compounds. Maybe there was a way that those organics reached early Earth intact. In other words, maybe the beginnings of life came from interstellar space.” – “How Did Life Start?,” by Peter Radetsky, DISCOVER, Vol. 13 No. 11, November 1992, Biology & Medicine

At this point in Friedmann’s conjectures, another planet--Mars, of all places--becomes convenient for completing the tale. Indirect evidence for life on Earth (organic compounds preserved in rocks, produced only by life) goes back at least 3.8 billion years. Yet life could not have appeared on the planet’s surface, most agree, before about 4 billion years ago, when heavy meteorite showers were still vaporizing the oceans. As proof for the existence of full-blown cellular life keeps pushing closer to 4 billion years, evolutionary biologists wonder if there was enough time for such life to arise from basic organic molecules. Perhaps life only arrived on the surface of Earth after it originated somewhere else. It’s been suggested that it started deep in Earth, where it is still abundant, and later moved up to the surface. Another suggestion, which Friedmann favors, is that it arrived ready-made from another planet. Mars is smaller than Earth and farther from the sun. Therefore Mars cooled down earlier. Probably the conditions suitable for life to arise happened earlier on Mars than on Earth, says Friedmann. And because the gravity of Mars is weaker than Earth’s, it is much easier for something to travel from Mars to Earth than the other way--something like a meteor, chipped off the surface. So if we assume that life originated on Mars and came to Earth, Friedmann continues, then we gain more time to explain the origin of life.” – “Looking for Life in All the Wrong Places,” by Will Hively, DISCOVER, Vol. 18 No. 05, May 1997, Astronomy & Physics

Besides addition time, the quote below demonstrates another benefit to relocating the origin of life from earth to another world. When conditions favorable to pre-biotic chemistry used in “successful” experiments are shown to be incompatible with earth’s early history (such as the Miller-Urey experiment), those experiments can remain relevantly insightful for the origin of life if we assume those favorable conditions, although not present on earth, were present on another world.

“The first hints that this might be so came from the laboratory, before evidence for it was found in space, through the historic experiments of Stanley Miller, now recalled in science textbooks…Although the primitive atmosphere is no longer believed to be as rich in hydrogen as once thought by Urey, the discovery that the Murchison meteorite contains the same amino acids obtained by Miller, and even in the same relative proportions, suggests strongly that his results are relevant.” – “The Beginnings of Life on Earth,” Christian de Duve, American Scientist, September-October 1995

Consequently, relocating the origin of life to another world not only yields more time but also a more hospitable environment for the origin of life than the early earth.

It is also important to note that this theory relocating the origin of life to another world is not limited to “fringe” or “uneducated” evolutionists but includes prominent scientists in the evolutionist camp such as Carl Sagan, Francis Crick, and Fred Hoyle.

“Elsewhere, Chyba is collaborating with Carl Sagan and others in an attempt to nail down the possible link between extraterrestrial objects and the origin of life.” – “How Did Life Start?,” by Peter Radetsky, DISCOVER, Vol. 13 No. 11, November 1992, Biology & Medicine

“On the other hand, it is believed that our young planet, still in the throes of volcanic eruptions and battered by falling comets and asteroids, remained inhospitable to life for about half a billion years after its birth, together with the rest of the solar system, some 4.55 billion years ago. This leaves a window of perhaps 200-300 million years for the appearance of life on earth. This duration was once considered too short for the emergence of something as complex as a living cell. Hence suggestions were made that germs of life may have come to earth from outer space with cometary dust or even, as proposed by Francis Crick of DNA double-helix fame, on a spaceship sent out by some distant civilization.” – “The Beginnings of Life on Earth,” Christian de Duve, American Scientist, September-October 1995

Bacterial Evangelists – The eminent British astronomer Fred Hoyle and his former student astrophysicist Chandra Wickramasinghe of the Cardiff Centre for Astrobiology in Wales promote a far-reaching— and, to most scientists, far-fetchedview of panspermia. They believe that microbes migrate within comets and their dusty remnants.” – “Did Life on Earth Come From Mars?,” by Robert Irion, DISCOVER, Vol. 22 No. 08, August 2001

This theory that life on earth came here from another planet or place in the universe is called “panspermia.”

The idea of life vagabonding through the cosmos has been around for millennia, but scientists first considered it seriously in the mid-19th century. In 1871, British physicist William Thomson Kelvin told his colleagues in Edinburgh: ‘We must regard it as probable in the highest degree that there are countless seed-bearing meteoritic stones moving about through space. If at the present instant no life existed upon this earth, one such stone falling upon it might . . . lead to its becoming covered with vegetation.’ Three decades later, Swedish chemist and Nobel laureate Svante Arrhenius agreed, but he took issue with part of Kelvin's scenario. The fiery trauma of a meteoroid ejected from a planet or out of the solar system, he argued, would incinerate any cells it harbored. Instead of hitching rides within rocks, Arrhenius said, life could travel unaided. In 1903, he proposed that spores of plants and germs might drift through space propelled by the gentle pressure of starlight. He called this idea panspermia (from the Greek for ‘seeds everywhere’).” – “Did Life on Earth Come From Mars?,” by Robert Irion, DISCOVER, Vol. 22 No. 08, August 2001

“When astronomers later grasped the true distances between stars and the vast size of the Milky Way, panspermia fell out of favor…Now panspermia is gaining credence again, but with more caveats. Planetary geologist Jeffrey Moore of the NASA Ames Research Center says that if panspermia simply means exchanges of life among bodies in our solar system, Kelvin's ‘seed-bearing meteoritic stones’ could be spot on. ‘Panspermia redefined is perceived as reasonable by virtually everybody,’ Moore explains. ‘Say you have several places in the solar system where organisms could multiply. Once one gets it, all the planets and moons with suitable environments come down with life. It's the day-care effect. They infect each other.’ The inner solar system, he adds, with its friendly temperatures and hard surfaces, is the most likely place for such exchanges.” – “Did Life on Earth Come From Mars?,” by Robert Irion, DISCOVER, Vol. 22 No. 08, August 2001

Life, The origin of life, Hypotheses of origins – Perhaps the most fundamental and at the same time the least understood biological problem is the origin of life. It is central to many scientific and philosophical problems and to any consideration of extraterrestrial life. Most of the hypotheses of the origin of life will fall into one of four categories: [1] The origin of life is a result of a supernatural event; that is, one permanently beyond the descriptive powers of physics and chemistry. [2] Life-particularly simple forms-spontaneously and readily arises from nonliving matter in short periods of time, today as in the past. [3] Life is coeternal with matter and has no beginning; life arrived on the Earth at the time of the origin of the earth or shortly thereafter. [4] Life arose on the early Earth by a series of progressive chemical reactions. Such reactions may have been likely or may have required one or more highly improbable chemical events…Toward the end of the 19th century Hypothesis 3 gained currency, particularly with the suggestion by a Swedish chemist, S.A. Arrhenius, that life on Earth arose from panspermia, microorganisms or spores wafted through space by radiation pressure from planet to planet or solar system to solar system. Such an idea of course avoids rather than solves the problem of the origin of life. In addition, it is extremely unlikely that any microorganism could be transported by radiation pressure to the Earth over interstellar distances without being killed by the combined effects of cold, vacuum, and radiation.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

The quote below includes panspermia under its heading of “Modern theories” and a “major theory of the origin of life,” right alongside “chemical evolution.” Here panspermia is described more generally as spores landing on earth from some other part of the universe, without stipulating how they traveled.

Life, The origin of life, Modern theoriesScientists think that life probably arose on Earth more than 3 1/2 billion years ago, and so they cannot base their understanding of that event on direct observation. As a result, their understanding of how life began is far less certain than their knowledge of such subjects as cell structure and biochemistry. Scientists construct explanations of the origin of life. They base their explanations on their knowledge of living things and on their understanding of the early physical conditions on Earth. Scientists have proposed two major theories of the origin of life. They are (1) the theory of panspermia and (2) the theory of chemical evolution. The theory of panspermia states that spores from some other part of the universe landed on Earth and began to develop. However, some scientists doubt that spores could survive a journey through the harsh conditions of outer space. Even if the theory is true, it explains only the origin of life on Earth and not how life arose in the universe.” – Worldbook, Contributor: Harold J. Morowitz, Ph.D., Robinson Professor of Biology and Director of Krasnow Institute, George Mason University.

Notice that both of the 2 last quotes above correctly asserts that panspermia “avoids rather than solves the problem of the origin of life” explaining “only the origin of life on Earth” and not “how life arose in the universe.” The reason for these comments is simple. Even if life traveled to earth from somewhere else, it would still be necessary to understand how it originated originally. This fact is also attested to in the following quotes from American Scientist and Discover magazines.

Even if life came from elsewhere, we would still have to account for its first development. Thus we might as well assume that life started on earth.” – “The Beginnings of Life on Earth,” Christian de Duve, American Scientist, September-October 1995

Knowing that some microbes easily hopscotched from planet to planet doesn't necessarily bring us any closer to pinpointing the fountainhead of life.” – “Did Life on Earth Come From Mars?, by Robert Irion,” DISCOVER, Vol. 22 No. 08, August 2001

Notice also that many of the quotes above state that the possibility is doubted by some scientists due to the harsh conditions of traveling through space. The quote below also indicates that this idea has been resisted, even previously by the author himself.

“There is little doubt in my mind that our oceans and our atmosphere were delivered on the backs of comets that bombarded the newly formed Earth in its first few hundred million years. What is more, the comets also appear to have brought prebiotic molecules—organic building blocks that could be used to get life started. These ideas have a fairly long history but have been resisted for various reasons over the decades. I have been studying the chemistry of comets for more than 50 years, and I admit that early in my career I too was reluctant to accept the possibility that comets had played such a crucial role in our planet’s history. But the evidence has continued to accumulate over the decades, and it now seems irrefutable. Here I provide an overview of the reasoning behind this extraordinary idea.” – An Argument for the Cometary Origin of the Biosphere, Armand H. Delsemme, American Scientists, Volume 89, 2004

As we these quotes assert, panspermia fell out of favor historically and remained so into recent times due to the improbability of organic molecules surviving travel through space.

“When astronomers later grasped the true distances between stars and the vast size of the Milky Way, panspermia fell out of favor…Now panspermia is gaining credence again, but with more caveats.” – “Did Life on Earth Come From Mars?,” by Robert Irion, DISCOVER, Vol. 22 No. 08, August 2001

Life, The origin of life, Hypotheses of origins – Perhaps the most fundamental and at the same time the least understood biological problem is the origin of life…Most of the hypotheses of the origin of life will fall into one of four categories: …[3] Life is coeternal with matter and has no beginning; life arrived on the Earth at the time of the origin of the earth or shortly thereafter…In addition, it is extremely unlikely that any microorganism could be transported by radiation pressure to the Earth over interstellar distances without being killed by the combined effects of cold, vacuum, and radiation.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Life, The origin of life, Modern theories Scientists have proposed two major theories of the origin of life. They are (1) the theory of panspermia and (2) the theory of chemical evolution. The theory of panspermia states that spores from some other part of the universe landed on Earth and began to develop. However, some scientists doubt that spores could survive a journey through the harsh conditions of outer space.” – Worldbook, Contributor: Harold J. Morowitz, Ph.D., Robinson Professor of Biology and Director of Krasnow Institute, George Mason University.

Yet despite these former rejections and the improbabilities involved, the idea of panspermia is gaining some acceptance now, quite simply because the geological history of earth is proving to be so prohibitive to the origin of life that panspermia is the only remaining alternative for evolutionary theory. The sheer number of quotes below from American Scientist, Discover, and even Microsoft Encarta are intended to demonstrate the extent to which panspermia has gained popular acceptance within the evolutionary community.

A World Without Water, Figure 2. Evolutionary highlights of the Earth’s biosphere can be described by a few crucial events in its 4.6 billion-year history. The process begins with the settling of dust in the accretionary disk of the protosolar system (a). The dust accretes into ever larger pieces, eventually forming a hot, but dry, rock—the protoearth—after 40 million years (b). When the system is merely 50 million years old, a grazing collision between the protoearth and a Mars-sized body results in the Moon’s formation and the loss of all volatiles and water brought by an early cometary bombardment (c). The heavy bombardment continues for at least the next 600 million years, with comets bringing water, atmospheric gases and prebiotic organic molecules to our planet (d).” – “An Argument for the Cometary Origin of the Biosphere,”Armand H. Delsemme, American Scientist, Volume 89, 2004

“The Primeval Biosphere, Figure 11. The primeval biosphere awoke to a tempestuous world of intermittent comet impacts, a steaming-hot ocean, a very thick atmosphere and torrential acid rains. Giant comet impacts would have ejected large amounts of material into space and spun off violent hurricanes and tornadoesPrebiotic organic molecules, delivered by the comets, would have provided the ‘seed’ for the evolution of the first life.” – “An Argument for the Cometary Origin of the Biosphere,” Armand H. Delsemme, American Scientist, Volume 89, 2004

“Figure 1. The young Earth appears to have been bombarded by comets for several hundred million years shortly after it was formed. This onslaught, perhaps involving hundreds of millions of comet impacts, is currently the best explanation for the origin of the Earth’s oceans, atmosphere and organic molecules. Although historically a controversial idea, there is now a considerable amount of physical and chemical evidence supporting the theory.” – “An Argument for the Cometary Origin of the Biosphere,” Armand H. Delsemme, American Scientist, Volume 89, 2004

“The evidence suggests that a rain of comets brought the Earth its water, its organic molecules and its atmosphere—key ingredients for life’s beginnings.” – “An Argument for the Cometary Origin of the Biosphere,” Armand H. Delsemme, American Scientist, Volume 89, 2004

 “In January the Stardust spacecraft cruised by Earth and tossed down a 95-pound canister packed with comet particles and interstellar dust, souvenirs scooped up during its seven-year journey past comet Wild 2. The bits are probably more than 4 billion years old, dating to an era when comets spread the chemistry of life among the planets…Stardust’s sample may be enough to reconstruct how material shuttled from planet to planet and even from star to star as Earth took shape 4.6 billion years ago.” – “Star Dust Memories,” by Susan Kruglinski, DISCOVER, April 2006

Geological GerminationAs the basic molecules of life move from space to a planetary environment, they begin to interact and undergo chemical reactions that produce larger and more complicated molecules. These larger molecules will ultimately become the building blocks of the earliest life-forms.” – “What Came Before DNA?,” by Carl Zimmer, DISCOVER Vol. 25 No. 06, June 2004, Biology & Medicine

Comets crashing into Earth more than 4 billion years ago may have delivered much of the water that makes life here possible, Yeomans says. Those impacts may also have seeded Earth with carbon-rich components, possibly creating the chemical conditions that led to the origin of life.” – “To Catch a Comet,” by Robert Irion, DISCOVER, Vol. 24 No. 10, October 2003

Chunks of planets were flying all over the place when the solar system was young— and some may have carried hitchhikers…Microbiologists Rocco Mancinelli and Lynn Rothschild have a thing for salt. Jagged hunks of it crowd the shelves of the couple's offices at the NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California. Their favorite pieces are laced with translucent reds and greens that look like algae in a neglected pool. These crystals harbor colonies of hardy, salt-loving microbes called halophiles, a class of bacteria that can thrive in very nasty settings. So impressive are the survival skills of these single-celled organisms that Mancinelli and Rothschild suspect the microbes might be able to survive long journeys through the vacuum and radiation of space. And that possibility, in turn, could help explain how life began on Earth. So impressive are the survival skills of these single-celled organisms that Mancinelli and Rothschild suspect the microbes might be able to survive long journeys through the vacuum and radiation of space. And that possibility, in turn, could help explain how life began on Earth.” – “Did Life on Earth Come From Mars?,” by Robert Irion, DISCOVER, Vol. 22 No. 08, August 2001

Mancinelli and Rothschild belong to a cadre of researchers who are reviving an old idea that seems straight out of science fiction: Organisms might have hopped from planet to planet, spreading life far beyond their birthplace. The scenario is simple. When our solar system was young, comets and asteroids crashed into planets and moons, which blasted surface rocks back out into space (a few such impacts still happen today). If the space-bound rocks harbored lifeforms, they might migrate to other planets. Recent lab tests suggest that bacteria can withstand the shocks of such blasts. And decent-sized rocks could shield the ejected cells from radiation in space. What's more, some studies suggest that sheltered microbes can survive tens or hundreds of millions of years of dormancy, plenty of time to drift to a new home. Add it all up and you've got a case that life could have drifted to Earth from someplace like Mars.” – “Did Life on Earth Come From Mars?,” by Robert Irion, DISCOVER, Vol. 22 No. 08, August 2001

“They are Earth's pariahs: microbes that just barely survive, in the least hospitable places on the planet. And yet they, or something much like them, could seed the universe with life.” – “Looking for Life in All the Wrong Places,” by Will Hively, DISCOVER, Vol. 18 No. 05, May 1997, Astronomy & Physics

Exobiology, II THE PROBABILITY OF LIFE IN THE GALAXY – During the 1920s Russian biologist Alexander Oparin and British biologist J. B. S. Haldane proposed that life could have arisen as a consequence of the physical and chemical formation of Earth...Forming organic materials in this way is only one possibility for the origin of the first building blocks of life. Other scientists have shown how organic compounds could have come to Earth from space in cosmic dust particles, asteroids, comets, and meteorites. The chemistry of deep sea hydrothermal vents is another possible source of life. Many potential sources of organic material exist on Earth and possibly on other planets.” – "Exobiology," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Exobiology, V PROSPECTS FOR DISCOVERY – Current exobiology research focuses on understanding how life arose on Earth and discovering potential life-supporting environments other than Earth. Scientists now believe that life on Earth dates back to at least 3.85 billion years before present, so living organisms have populated Earth for more than 80 percent of its history...Meteorites from Mars and studies of the interchange of materials blasted into space by large asteroid impacts suggest that some life forms may have traveled in space over billions of years.” – "Exobiology," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Advanced forms of life existed on earth at least 3.55 billion years ago. In rocks of that age, fossilized imprints have been found of bacteria that look uncannily like cyanobacteria, the most highly evolved photosynthetic organisms present in the world today…On the other hand, it is believed that our young planet, still in the throes of volcanic eruptions and battered by falling comets and asteroids, remained inhospitable to life for about half a billion years after its birth, together with the rest of the solar system, some 4.55 billion years ago. This leaves a window of perhaps 200-300 million years for the appearance of life on earth. This duration was once considered too short for the emergence of something as complex as a living cell. Hence suggestions were made that germs of life may have come to earth from outer space with cometary dust or even, as proposed by Francis Crick of DNA double-helix fame, on a spaceship sent out by some distant civilization…But it seems very likely that the first building blocks of nascent life were provided by amino acids and other small organic molecules such as are known to form readily in the laboratory and on celestial bodies. To what extent these substances arose on earth or were brought in by the falling comets and asteroids that contributed to the final accretion of our planet is still being debated.” – “The Beginnings of Life on Earth,” Christian de Duve, American Scientist, September-October 1995

“The first hints that this might be so came from the laboratory, before evidence for it was found in space, through the historic experiments of Stanley Miller, now recalled in science textbooks…Although the primitive atmosphere is no longer believed to be as rich in hydrogen as once thought by Urey, the discovery that the Murchison meteorite contains the same amino acids obtained by Miller, and even in the same relative proportions, suggests strongly that his results are relevant.” – “The Beginnings of Life on Earth,” Christian de Duve, American Scientist, September-October 1995

And, as indicated by the quote below, not only are meteorites being sought as the source of basic organic compounds and amino acids but also as the source of membranes as well.

Astronomers and geologists were discovering that Earth had a violent infancy--hundreds of millions of years after the planet had formed, giant asteroids and comets still crashed into it, burning off its young atmosphere and boiling away its oceans. In the process, they also destroyed all the chemicals that researchers assumed were in liberal supply on the early Earth, including the building blocks of lipids…Research now suggests that the source was extraterrestrial. Comets and meteorites evidently brought seeds of creation to replace the ones they had destroyed, in the form of hundreds of different organic carbon molecules synthesized when the solar system was a swirling disk of gas and dust. After the last atmosphere-killing impacts--about 4 billion years ago--smaller comets, meteorites, and dust from space could, in the space of a few hundred million years, have brought enough organic carbon to cover the planet in a layer ten inches deep. Deamer wondered whether space could also supply him with his membranes; specifically, he wondered whether he could dig them out of a 200-pound meteorite that had fallen in Murchison, Australia, in 1969 and that was positively tarry with organic carbon. In 1985 he traveled to Australian National University in Canberra to study it…Deamer was encouraged by this work--he had found hints that meteorites supplied material to form membranes that could have enclosed complex genetic molecules and could have trapped energy.” – First Cell, by Carl Zimmer, DISCOVER, Vol. 16 No. 11, November 1995, Biology & Medicine

Consequently, it would seem that solutions to all the problems and irreducibly interdependencies components facing evolutionary processes on earth, are being sought in space and from other planets.

Two means of transportation have been suggested. The first alternative, reflected in the quotes above, is transportation by meteorite or comet. The second alternative is transportation in a space ship by intelligent life forms.

“This duration was once considered too short for the emergence of something as complex as a living cell. Hence suggestions were made that germs of life may have come to earth from outer space with cometary dust or even, as proposed by Francis Crick of DNA double-helix fame, on a spaceship sent out by some distant civilization. No evidence in support of these proposals has yet been obtained.” – “The Beginnings of Life on Earth,” Christian de Duve, American Scientist, September-October 1995

Timing is also crucial to this theory. It is important to note that the timing for when the meteorites and comets might have brought the pre-biotic compounds or even life itself to earth is identified as around 3.5-3.9 billion years ago.

Exobiology, V PROSPECTS FOR DISCOVERY – Current exobiology research focuses on understanding how life arose on Earth and discovering potential life-supporting environments other than Earth. Scientists now believe that life on Earth dates back to at least 3.85 billion years before present, so living organisms have populated Earth for more than 80 percent of its history...Meteorites from Mars and studies of the interchange of materials blasted into space by large asteroid impacts suggest that some life forms may have traveled in space over billions of years.” – "Exobiology," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Advanced forms of life existed on earth at least 3.55 billion years agoOn the other hand, it is believed that our young planet, still in the throes of volcanic eruptions and battered by falling comets and asteroids, remained inhospitable to life for about half a billion years after its birth, together with the rest of the solar system, some 4.55 billion years ago. This leaves a window of perhaps 200-300 million years for the appearance of life on earth…But it seems very likely that the first building blocks of nascent life were provided by amino acids and other small organic molecules such as are known to form readily in the laboratory and on celestial bodies. To what extent these substances arose on earth or were brought in by the falling comets and asteroids that contributed to the final accretion of our planet is still being debated.” – “The Beginnings of Life on Earth,” Christian de Duve, American Scientist, September-October 1995

Likewise, specific meteorites that have been found on earth have been dated to this timeframe of around 3.6 billion years ago, at the “tail end” of meteorite bombardment of the earth. This is specifically significant because of its potential as a means of explaining how life might have traveled to earth at around the right time when life is believed to have began on earth 3.8 billion years ago.

Life, The search for life on other planets – In 1976, two United States space probes, Viking 1 and Viking 2, landed on Mars and performed several experiments to test for life. These experiments indicated chemical activity in Martian soil, but failed to detect any living organisms. In 1996, scientists claimed they found evidence of Martian life from a meteorite discovered in Antarctica. This meteorite, over 3.6 billion years old, contained objects resembling fossils of bacteria. It also contained compounds that are produced by living organisms on Earth. The question of life remains unsettled, but most scientists consider it very unlikely.” – Worldbook, Contributor: Harold J. Morowitz, Ph.D., Robinson Professor of Biology and Director of Krasnow Institute, George Mason University.

Exobiology – In 1976, two United States Viking space probes landed on Mars and conducted experiments. But these experiments did not uncover any living organisms. In 1996, scientists claimed they found evidence of Martian life from a meteorite discovered in Antarctica. This meteorite, which scientists believe came from Mars, is over 3.6 billion years old. It contained objects resembling fossils of bacteria. The meteorite also contained compounds that are produced by living organisms on the earth. Although the question of life on Mars remains unsettled, most scientists consider it very unlikely.” – Worldbook, Contributor: Tobias C. Owen, Ph.D., Professor of Astronomy, Institute for Astronomy, University of Hawaii, Honolulu.

As stated above, the timing of these meteorite impacts is the same time when the most primitive life forms would have had to be present on earth in order for them to evolve into the earliest organisms in the fossil record around 3.5 billion years ago. As stated in an earlier segment, the earliest fossils date to 3.4 billions years ago.

“Earth [planet], History of Earth, Life on Earth – Fossils help scientists learn which kinds of plants and animals lived at different times in Earth's history. Scientists who study prehistoric life are called paleontologists. Many scientists believe that life appeared on Earth almost as soon as conditions allowed. There is evidence for chemicals created by living things in rocks from the Archean age, 3.8 billion years old. Fossil remains of microscopic living things about 3.5 billion years old have also been found at sites in Australia and Canada.” – Worldbook, Contributor: Steven I. Dutch, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Natural and Applied Sciences, University of Wisconsin, Green Bay.

Exobiology, V PROSPECTS FOR DISCOVERYScientists now believe that life on Earth dates back to at least 3.85 billion years before present, so living organisms have populated Earth for more than 80 percent of its history.” – "Exobiology," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Evolution, I INTRODUCTION The earliest known fossil organisms are single-celled forms resembling modern bacteria; they date from about 3.4 billion years ago.” – "Evolution," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Consequently, the arrival of life or at least essential pre-biotic chemicals by means of meteorites and comets has gained favor in the evolutionary community because it solves 3 critical problems facing evolutionary theory. First, it resolves the problem created by the bombarding of the earth and actually turns that problem into a solution by asserting those meteorites and comets were the source of the organic material. Second, it resolves the timing problem caused by the need for more primitive to have existed for the few hundred million years necessary for them to evolve into the earliest, yet still highly complex organisms found in the very first part of the fossil record. Third, it resolves the problems raised by other environmental hazards by relocating the origin of life to a more idealized environment on another world.

However, it is important to note that, despite the advantages this scenario infuses into the meteorite bombardment period of early earth history, the meteorite bombardment period is not an artificial construct created merely to facilitate these advantages. Instead, it must be stated that the understanding that the earth was bombarded by meteorites until about 3.9 billion years ago is based upon independent geological considerations, such as the number of craters on the moon and mars.

Earth, geologic history of, The pregeologic period – The history of the Earth spans approximately 4.6 billion years. The oldest known rocks, however, have an isotopic age of only about 3.9 billion years. There is, in effect, a stretch of 700 million years for which no geologic record exists, and the evolution of this pregeologic period of time is not surprisingly the subject of much speculation. To understand this little-known period, the following factors have to be considered: the age of formation at 4.6 billion years ago, the processes in operation until 3.9 billion years ago, the bombardment of the Earth by meteorites, and the earliest zircon crystals…It is known from direct observation that the surface of the Moon is covered with a multitude of meteorite craters. There are about 40 large basins attributable to meteorite impact. Known as maria, these depressions were filled in with basaltic lavas caused by the impact-induced melting of the lunar mantle. Many of these basalts have been analyzed isotopically and found to have crystallization ages of 3.9 to 4 billion years. It can be safely concluded that the Earth, with a greater attractive mass than the Moon, must have undergone more extensive meteorite bombardment. According to the English-born geologist Joseph V. Smith, a minimum of 500 to 1,000 impact basins were formed on the Earth within a period of about 100 to 200 million years prior to 3.95 billion years ago. Moreover, plausible calculations suggest that this estimate represents merely the tail end of an interval of declining meteorite bombardment and that about 20 times as many basins were formed in the preceding 300 million years. Such intense bombardment would have covered most of the Earth's surface, with the impacts causing considerable destruction of the terrestrial crust up to 3.9 billion years ago. There is, however, no direct evidence of this important phase of Earth history because rocks older than 3.9 billion years have not been preserved.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Thus, even if panspermia is false, scenarios locating the origin of life to earth itself still have to contend with the prohibitive obstacle posed by the massive meteorite and comet bombardment of the earth during the very timeframe when life would have needed to originate here.

Now that we understand what the theory of life from outer space involves, what its advantages are, how much it has been accepted in evolutionary theory, and why it has been accepted, we can move on to discuss the problems and barriers facing this scenario.

The first complication to this scenario is that meteors would have to be within a certain size range and might even have to break up in the atmosphere in order for organic molecules to complete the journey to earth.

“During the solar system’s infancy, when huge meteorites were regularly smashing into the planets, a fair amount of Mars could have made its way to Earth in a matter of months, and some of it could have been infected with Martian microbes…Bacteria on small meteorites would die as their spaceships burned up in Earth’s atmosphere, while large meteorites would detonate on impact. But a medium-size one would be braked gently by the atmosphere, would not get too hot in its core, and would hit the ground relatively softly. Bacteria riding these impactors might well survive the landing: such meteorites also have a habit of breaking up while still in the air, and the fragments would disperse microbes over a large surface area, like interplanetary seedpods.” – “Looking for Life in All the Wrong Places,” by Will Hively, DISCOVER, Vol. 18 No. 05, May 1997, Astronomy & Physics

And, even if we assume meteors within the proper size range, evolutionary scientists themselves continue to debate the feasibility of key compounds in meteorites surviving the heat of both exit and entry impacts, the speed of exit, the cold of space, and the violent break-up that occurs upon entry and impact. In the quotes below, evolutionary scientists affirm the obstacle posed by heat.

“In 1871, British physicist William Thomson Kelvin told his colleagues in Edinburgh: ‘We must regard it as probable in the highest degree that there are countless seed-bearing meteoritic stones moving about through space. If at the present instant no life existed upon this earth, one such stone falling upon it might . . . lead to its becoming covered with vegetation.’ Three decades later, Swedish chemist and Nobel laureate Svante Arrhenius agreed, but he took issue with part of Kelvin's scenario. The fiery trauma of a meteoroid ejected from a planet or out of the solar system, he argued, would incinerate any cells it harbored. Instead of hitching rides within rocks, Arrhenius said, life could travel unaided. In 1903, he proposed that spores of plants and germs might drift through space propelled by the gentle pressure of starlight. He called this idea panspermia (from the Greek for ‘seeds everywhere’).” – “Did Life on Earth Come From Mars?,” by Robert Irion, DISCOVER, Vol. 22 No. 08, August 2001

“However, says Chyba, it’s likely that most organics aboard meteorites and comets never made it to Earth. At these velocities, at least 10 to 15 miles per second, the temperatures you reach on impact are so high that you end up frying just about everything. And those organics that survived would probably have been too few and too scattered to evolve into life.” – “How Did Life Start?,” by Peter Radetsky, DISCOVER, Vol. 13 No. 11, November 1992, Biology & Medicine

Nevertheless, despite these objections from some evolutionary scientists concerning prohibitive temperatures, other scientists point to evidence as indicating it is possible that certain parts of asteroids or comets might not even reach such damaging temperatures at all, making survival possible.

Another anticipated hurdle would be the intense heat at launch from one planet and the heat at impact on another. Yet last year a team led by graduate student Benjamin Weiss of the California Institute of Technology found that the inside of a Martian meteorite (ALH84001, made famous by researchers who believe that it contains clues of ancient life) never grew hotter than a summer day in Palm Springs. The team figured this out by analyzing faint traces of a magnetic field preserved within the meteorite. When researchers heated a small slice of it to 104 degrees Fahrenheit, the rock's magnetic signature— imprinted during its early days on Mars— vanished. That meant the meteorite's interior had never exceeded that temperature, not even during its odyssey to Earth.” – “Did Life on Earth Come From Mars?,” by Robert Irion, DISCOVER, Vol. 22 No. 08, August 2001

Furthermore, the break-ups that occur at impact are believed to be an obstacle that would destroy any important compounds in the meteorite. And once again, despite this concern, other evolutionary scientists assert that meteors and any pre-biotic compounds they contained would survive the break-ups that occur upon impact as well.

“In the 1980s, new evidence turned up. Analysis of trace gases within meteorites found on Earth revealed that some had originated on Mars or on our moon. ‘That changed everything,’ says Jay Melosh, an astronomer at the University of Arizona. ‘Suddenly, interplanetary transfer was feasible.’ It turns out that a high-speed impact on a planet's surface doesn't pulverize all the rock on the ground below. Instead, some rocks at the edge of the impact get lofted into space at tremendous speeds and remain intact.” – “Did Life on Earth Come From Mars?,” by Robert Irion, DISCOVER, Vol. 22 No. 08, August 2001

And the speed of escape velocity is also seen as a significant obstacle to the survival of any relevant pre-biotic compounds. Nevertheless, despite this objection, other evolutionists assert there is evidence that this issue is not really a problem.

“The team's work established that a transfer of rocks could occur easily and often between planets in the inner solar system. The next question: Could microbes aboard survive ejection and impact? To escape a planet's gravity, a rock must accelerate from zero to at least 11,500 miles per hour in a thousandth-of-a-second jerk so intense it would liquefy a human. But when Jay Melosh and his colleague Rachel Mastrapa loaded bacteria into bullet casings and shot them into cold plastic modeling clay, they found that most bacteria survived. Mileikowsky, too, has tested this idea by firing cannon shells stuffed with pebbles holding hundreds of millions of ordinary bacteria. Again, most of the cells lived.” – “Did Life on Earth Come From Mars?,” by Robert Irion, DISCOVER, Vol. 22 No. 08, August 2001

Conversely, those evolutionary scientists who still regard the heat and break-up at impact to be prohibitive assert an alternative wherein pre-biotic compounds or even living microbes themselves could waft gently into earth’s atmosphere in the form of dust from comets rather than impacting meteorites.

“The Primeval Biosphere – At the same time, some of the organic molecules delivered by the comets may have had a few interesting chemical interactions of their own—actually giving a “jump start” to the first life on our planet. Although some have questioned whether organics could survive the heat of an impact, the issue now seems to be resolved. The survival of 74 different amino acids (most of which are not known on the Earth) on carbonaceous chondrites, such as the Murchison meteorite, suggest that organics could at least survive a minor impact. And recent studies by Elisabetta Pierazzo, of the University of Arizona, and Christopher Chyba of the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California, suggest that some amino acids could even survive the shock heating of kilometer-sized cometary impacts. In any case, Anders and I have, independently, argued that an extremely large flux of interplanetary dust particles (derived from the tails of comets that missed the Earth during its first 600 million years) could have salted the young Earth with enormous quantities of prebiotic molecules. Indeed, in 1985 Don Brownlee of the University of Washington, Seattle, showed that cometary dust grains, captured in the upper atmosphere, contain undamaged organic molecules.” – “An Argument for the Cometary Origin of the Biosphere,” Armand H. Delsemme, American Scientist, Volume 89, 2004

“But interplanetary dust particles (IDPs for short) are another matter. In contrast to their larger cousins, these particles, tiny specks no larger than .004 inch across, routinely reach Earth. They get slowed way up in the atmosphere, says Chyba. Then they remain floating around for months, even years, before they come down. NASA samples IDPs directly in the atmosphere with modified U2 spy planes fitted with adhesive collectors on the wings. What researchers have found is that IDPs also contain organic material--although only about 10 percent worth. Perhaps, then, dust seeded early Earth with the stuff of life.” – “How Did Life Start?,” by Peter Radetsky, DISCOVER, Vol. 13 No. 11, November 1992, Biology & Medicine

It should be pointed out that this cometary dust scenario (as opposed to meteorite impact) only averts problems upon arrival in earth’s atmosphere and would still retain the interplanetary survival problems and the exit impact problems that would arise earlier in the journey. As the quotes below attest, evolutionary scientists still debate and object to the possibility that either life or pre-biotic compounds could survive the sheer amount of time they would be in space. It is generally agreed that any life forms could not survive more than a half a dozen years in space at the most. This is important because, as the last quote below states, crossing from one planet to another requires multiple decades or millennia (for even the shortest hypothetical trips between earth and Mars) to the more normal millions of years. This makes the travel time prohibitive to any pan-spermia theory.

In order to make the journey, a microbe would have to be a rugged generalist. Being tough, it would last for months in space, and once dropped onto a new planet, a generalist could thrive almost anywhere. If specialists survived the ride, by contrast, they would quickly die unless they were lucky enough to land on a spot to their liking.” – “Looking for Life in All the Wrong Places,” by Will Hively, DISCOVER, Vol. 18 No. 05, May 1997, Astronomy & Physics

Microbial havens could, therefore, survive the trip between planets. ‘The only question is the lifetime of the bacteria,’ says Mileikowsky. ‘It is the aspect that must be tested more than anything else.’ A few experiments show that bacteria can persist in space for at least a few years. Microbiologist Gerda Horneck of DLR, the German space agency, found that out when she sent organisms into a six-year orbit on a NASA satellite in the 1980s. The star performer was Bacillus subtilis. When deprived of nutrients, these bacteria form spores, hardened nuggets that protect each cell's vital components. Horneck found that although ultraviolet radiation killed all the spores in a top layer, the dead spores formed a protective shield for those beneath. Many survived the vacuum, cold, and lack of water, including about 30 percent of those embedded in salt.” – “Did Life on Earth Come From Mars?,” by Robert Irion, DISCOVER, Vol. 22 No. 08, August 2001

“Two years ago, Rocco Mancinelli followed up by sending his salt-loving microbes into space for two weeks on BioPan, a European satellite. Mancinelli showed that halophiles also survive, but they don't make spores. His result may mean that many ordinary, non-spore-forming microbes could travel within meteoroids. Horneck and Mancinelli acknowledge that short satellite flights can't compare with the millions of years required for most interplanetary crossings, or even the decades to millennia required for fast transfers between Earth and Mars.” – “Did Life on Earth Come From Mars?,” by Robert Irion, DISCOVER, Vol. 22 No. 08, August 2001

As indicated by the next quote, one of the obstacles faced during long interplanetary travel is the extreme cold of space. However, as the additional quotes below demonstrate, extreme cold is a factor even during trips with short duration.

Bacteria forced into subfreezing habitats usually become dormant: they slow their metabolic activity to a very low level. Years later, many can revive if thawed. But not after millions of years.” – “Looking for Life in All the Wrong Places,” by Will Hively, DISCOVER, Vol. 18 No. 05, May 1997, Astronomy & Physics

Although the following quotes specifically refer to why life could not be present on Mars, one reason for why life could not be present is extreme cold, colder than any bacteria have survived in on earth. This would apply to any primitive life form on a meteor, comet, or asteroid as well, particularly since, like Mars, they have no atmosphere to help trap and retain heat for the long durations between exit and impact.

“As far as his own research went, the stories were reasonably accurate: he had shown that the microbes were certainly alive, although at that point he knew almost nothing about how they managed to survive in frozen rock. But the stories also suggested, wrongly, that such microbes could still be alive on Mars today. In fact the Martian atmosphere vanished almost completely billions of years ago, along with liquid water on the surface, and the climate over most of the planet became colder than Antarctica. Cryptoendoliths may once have lived on Mars, but they would now be long gone.” – Looking for Life in All the Wrong Places, by Will Hively, DISCOVER, Vol. 18 No. 05, May 1997, Astronomy & Physics

Bacteria forced into subfreezing habitats usually become dormant: they slow their metabolic activity to a very low level. Years later, many can revive if thawed. But not after millions of years.” – Looking for Life in All the Wrong Places, by Will Hively, DISCOVER, Vol. 18 No. 05, May 1997, Astronomy & Physics

““During the solar system’s infancy, when huge meteorites were regularly smashing into the planets, a fair amount of Mars could have made its way to Earth in a matter of months, and some of it could have been infected with Martian microbes…Assume, for a moment, that microbes are riding one of those rocks, possibly inside it. Little DNA would be damaged in such a short period of time, and so they could simply turn off their metabolic engines in the cold vacuum of space.” – Looking for Life in All the Wrong Places, by Will Hively, DISCOVER, Vol. 18 No. 05, May 1997, Astronomy & Physics

One hitch is that Martian permafrost temperatures average about 100 degrees below zero, which is quite a bit colder than the -16 degree soils that Friedmann probed in Antarctica. Another hitch is that such microbes would be required to survive 3 billion years rather than 3 million.” – Looking for Life in All the Wrong Places, by Will Hively, DISCOVER, Vol. 18 No. 05, May 1997, Astronomy & Physics

According to Worldbook Encyclopedia, the average temperature on Mars is -195 to 79 degrees Fahrenheit (-125 to 20 degrees Celsius). As indicated by the last quote above, that is “quite a bit colder than the -16 degrees” of soils in Antarctica. According to Britannica, the average temperatures on Antarctica range from -4 to -94 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter (-20 to -70 degrees Celsius) and from -31 to 32 degrees Fahrenheit (-35 to 0 degrees Celsius) in the summer.

Antarctica, Physical geography, The land, ClimateMean temperatures of the coldest months are −4 degrees to −22 degrees F (−20 degrees to −30 degrees C) on the coast and −40 degrees to −94 degrees F (−40 degrees to −70 degrees C) in the interior, the coldest period on the polar plateau being usually in late August just before the return of the sun. Whereas midsummer temperatures may reach as high as 59 degrees F (15 degrees C) on the Antarctic Peninsula, those elsewhere are usually much lower, ranging from a mean of about 32 degrees F (0 degrees C) on the coast to between −4 degrees and −31 degrees F (−20 degrees and −35 degrees C) in the interior.

Given that the temperature in Antarctica is uninhabitable to most life and the temperature on Mars is completely uninhabitable, what is the temperature of space?

To answer this question, we need to learn a little bit about how the temperature of space is described and measured. In terms of fundamentals, heat is a form of energy that is measured by temperature.

Heat, Heat/What heat isHeat is a form of energy.” – Worldbook, Contributor: Ared Cezairliyan, Ph.D., Former Research Physicist, National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Heatenergy that is transferred from one body to another as the result of a difference in temperature.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

“Heat, I INTRODUCTION – Heat, in physics, transfer of energy from one part of a substance to another, or from one body to another by virtue of a difference in temperature. Heat is energy in transit; it always flows from a substance at a higher temperature to the substance at a lower temperature, raising the temperature of the latter and lowering that of the former substance, provided the volume of the bodies remains constant..” – "Heat," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Additionally fundamental is the fact that space is a vacuum. That is not to say that space is completely empty but only that it is far, far closer to an actual vacuum than can be achieved on earth (or even at all under any conditions.)

Spaceflight, The space environment – The space that separates cosmic objects is not entirely empty. Throughout this void, matter—mostly hydrogen—is scattered at extremely low densities. Nevertheless, space constitutes a much greater vacuum than has been achieved on Earth.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Human-factors engineering, Applications of human-factors engineering, Space suit – The designing of a much more complicated device, such as a space suit, presents more intricate problems. A space suit is a complete miniature world, a self-contained environment that must supply everything needed for an astronaut's life, as well as comfort. The suit must provide a pressurized interior, without which an astronaut's blood would boil in the vacuum of space.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

“Extinction – Space actually contains very little matter, making it almost a vacuum. The average density of matter in the space between stars is about 10-24 g/cm3, and most of this matter is made up of atoms of gas. Dust particles only make up 1 percent of the total interstellar matter.” – "Extinction (astronomy)," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

VacuumVacuum, defined strictly, space that has all matter removed from it. It is impossible to create a perfect vacuum in the laboratory; no matter how advanced a vacuum system is, some molecules are always present in the vacuum area. Even remote regions of outer space have a small amount of gas.” – "Vacuum," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

The last fundamental problem deals with the modes of heat transfer. As the quotes below describe, “there are three modes of heat transfer,” conduction, convection, and radiation. Of these 3, the first 2, conduction and convection, require material carriers whereas only radiation can exist in a vacuum such as space where there is no particles to function as a material carrier.

Heat, Heat transferBecause heat is energy in transition, some discussion of the mechanisms involved is pertinent. There are three modes of heat transfer, which can be described as (1) the transfer of heat by conduction in solids or fluids at rest, (2) the transfer of heat by convection in liquids or gases in a state of motion, combining conduction with fluid flow, and (3) the transfer of heat by radiation, which takes place with no material carrier.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Radiationeither the process by which energy is emitted from a source and propagated through the surrounding medium or the energy involved in this process.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Heat, VII TRANSFER OF HEATThe physical methods by which energy in the form of heat can be transferred between bodies are conduction and radiation. A third method, which also involves the motion of matter, is called convection. Conduction requires physical contact between the bodies or portions of bodies exchanging heat, but radiation does not require contact or the presence of any matter between the bodies. Convection occurs when a liquid or gas is in contact with a solid body at a different temperature and is always accompanied by the motion of the liquid or gas. The science dealing with the transfer of heat between bodies is called heat transfer.” – "Heat," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Heat, Heat/How heat travels – Heat passes from one object or place to another by three methods: (1) conduction, (2) convection, and (3) radiation…Radiation. In conduction and convection, moving particles transmit heat. But in radiation, heat can travel through a vacuum, which has no particles.” – Worldbook, Contributor: Ared Cezairliyan, Ph.D., Former Research Physicist, National Institute of Standards and Technology.

RadiationRadiation, in physics, process of transmitting energy through space.” – "Radiation," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

Consequently, when discussing the temperature of space, scientists use phrases such as “background radiation temperature.” According to the evolutionary, Big Bang theory, originally the universe was very hot and background radiation is the left over energy from that Big Bang. After billions of years of expansion, the universe has cooled, which is reflected in the current background radiation. The temperature of the current background radiation is 3-5 degrees, not above zero, but above absolute zero.

Cosmos, Other components, Microwave background radiation – Beginning in 1948, the American cosmologist George Gamow and his coworkers, Ralph Alpher and Robert Herman, investigated the idea that the chemical elements might have been synthesized by thermonuclear reactions that took place in a primeval fireball. The high temperature associated with the early universe would give rise to a thermal radiation field, which has a unique distribution of intensity with wavelength (known as Planck's radiation law), that is a function only of the temperature. As the universe expanded, the temperature would have dropped, each photon being redshifted by the cosmological expansion to longer wavelength, as the American physicist Richard C. Tolman had already shown in 1934. By the present epoch the radiation temperature would have dropped to very low values, about 5° above absolute zero (0 K, or -273° C) according to the estimates of Alpher and Herman.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

"Background Radiation, I INTRODUCTION Background radiation represents energy left over from the "big bang," the explosion at the beginning of the universe (see Big Bang Theory)...The big bang theory of the beginning of the universe holds that the universe was extremely hot and dense in its first moments and has been expanding and cooling ever since. Models of the early universe and its evolution predict that some of the radiation caused by the extremely high temperature of the early universe will still be present, but that it will exist at a much lower temperature because the universe has expanded so much. Scientists can measure the intensity of the background radiation at infrared, microwave, and radio wavelengths to determine how the intensity of the radiation relates to its wavelength. Planck's law, developed in the early 1900s by German physicist Max Planck, predicts the curve of intensity versus wavelength for the radiation of an object of a given temperature. The curve that results from measurement of the background radiation matches exactly the curve predicted for a body radiating energy at a little less than 3 K (a little less than -270° C, or about -450° F).” - "Background Radiation," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

"Penzias, Arno Allan – a German-born American astrophysicist, discovered and studied cosmic microwave background radiation...In the early 1960's, while observing radio emissions from a ring of gas surrounding the Milky Way galaxy, Penzias and Wilson noticed a uniform background static suggesting that there is a residue of heat energy in the universe corresponding to a temperature of about 3° Kelvin above absolute zero (-273.15° Celsius or -459.67° Fahrenheit). This faint warmth is now generally held to be the result of the remaining background radiation resulting from the explosion in which the universe is thought to have been created. See COSMOLOGY (The big bang theory)." – World Book 2005 (Deluxe)

"Wilson, Robert Woodrow – is an American radio astronomer. He shared half of the 1978 Nobel Prize for physics with fellow American Arno Penzias for their discovery and study of cosmic microwave background radiation...In the early 1960's, while observing radio waves emitted by a ring of gas surrounding the Milky Way galaxy, Wilson noticed a uniform background static suggesting that there is a residue of heat energy in the universe corresponding to a temperature of about 3 degrees Kelvin, 3 degrees above absolute zero (-273.15° Celsius or -459.67° Fahrenheit). Many scientists believe that this faint warmth is the result of the remaining background radiation resulting from the explosion in which the universe was created. See COSMOLOGY (The big bang theory)." – World Book 2005 (Deluxe)

"The expression "the temperature of space" is the title of chapter 13 of Sir Arthur Eddington's famous 1926 work. [4] Eddington calculated the minimum temperature any body in space would cool to, given that it is immersed in the radiation of distant starlight. With no adjustable parameters, he obtained 3 K (later refined to 2.8 K [5]), essentially the same as the observed, so-called "background," temperature.” – “The top 30 problems with the big bang,” Apeiron, April 2002, Copyright 2002 C. Roy Keys Inc

"We are indebted to Assis and Neves (1995) for much of the following discussion calculating the 'temperature of space', and the figure arrived at was 5.6 K. A similar black-body calculation was given by Eddington in 1926 (reprint 1988), and he arrived at the figure 3.18 K, calling it explicitly the 'temperature of interstellar space'.” – “A fractal universe with discrete spatial scales: in memory of Toivo Jaakkola. D.F. Roscoe,” Apeiron, July-Oct 1996, Copyright 1996 C. Roy Keys Inc.

Consequently, at around -450 degrees Fahrenheit (-270 degrees Celsius), the temperature of space is double the lowest average temperatures of Mars (-195 to 79 degrees Fahrenheit, -125 to 20 degrees Celsius) and perhaps anywhere from three to ten times as low as the average temperatures in Antarctica (-94 degrees Fahrenheit, -70 degrees Celsius in the winter to -31 degrees Fahrenheit, -35 degrees Celsius in the summer). These temperatures are simply prohibitive to the idea of any organism making any interplanetary journey that lasts for more than a few years, which rules out any interplanetary journey on a comet or meteorite, since such journeys take thousands, or more typically, millions of years. 

Furthermore, exposure to almost absolute zero temperatures is not the only barrier to organisms or even pre-biotic compounds surviving an interplanetary journey. As the following quote describes, prolonged exposure to cosmic radiation is another significant obstacle.

“Even if frozen, Friedmann says, microorganisms cannot survive forever. Radiation--either from radioactivity in rock or from cosmic rays falling from the sky--will damage bacterial DNA and over millions of years will almost certainly kill a microbe. Another risk involves changes in the structure of amino acids, a kind of spontaneous twisting known as racemization. Amino acids can exist in either left- or right-twisting versions, but living cells use only left-twisting ones. If a cell becomes completely dormant, it cannot repair proteins that spontaneously flip to the right-twisted form, and these harmful errors can build up. After 3 million years, a revived bacterium would find itself with proteins that no longer function.” – “Looking for Life in All the Wrong Places,” by Will Hively, DISCOVER, Vol. 18 No. 05, May 1997, Astronomy & Physics

Despite the rejection of the idea by some evolutionary scientists, as seen in the quote above, other evolutionary scientists are willing to entertain the idea that microorganisms might survive radiation exposure in space. As the next quote indicates, there are some microorganisms with a better chance of surviving radiation than others. But this is still far from certain. Scientists open to this possibility only regard such microbes as having a “decent chance.”

BACILLUS NEALSON II – A double-spore coating makes this bac-terium especially resistant to gamma radiation, one of the chief obstacles to any potential life on Mars. B. nealsonii, a new species, is particularly well adapted to the dry environment of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory SAF, where it was first discovered…As Venkat discovered, the second spore coating also offers a secondary benefit: It makes the organism unusually resistant to gamma rays, a form of cosmic radiation that, in large doses, is fatal to men and microbes alike. (Earth’s atmosphere screens out most gamma radiation; Mars, in contrast, is a gamma-ray frying pan.)…But what’s notable, Venkat says, is that the very traits that render these bugs impervious to decontamination also grant them a decent chance of surviving the radiation shower they would encounter en route to and on the surface of a place like Mars.” – “Seeding the Universe,” by Alan Burdick, DISCOVER, Vol. 25 No. 10, October 2004, Astronomy & Physics

Yet even with a “decent” chance of surviving radiation, such microorganisms would still face a hostile environment if they managed to survive the cold of space, the sheer acceleration of ejection speeds, and the dangers of impact and somehow reach the earth. Not just any microorganism would survive on earth to grow and reproduce for evolution. Only a particular type of microorganism would survive on its new home. And it would also have to arrive at just the right environmental spot on earth as well (and at just the right time).

“The Primeval Biosphere – About 3.5 billion years ago large cometary impacts would have become increasingly rare, but when they did occur, they produced enormous cataclysms. The oceans would have boiled near the impact site, causing hurricanes and gigantic waterspouts with fantastic ejections of gas and water into space. Under these chaotic and seemingly inhospitable conditions, a phenomenon occurs that is going to have astonishing consequences: Bacteria begin to multiply in the hot waters of the first oceans.” – “An Argument for the Cometary Origin of the Biosphere,” Armand H. Delsemme, American Scientist, Volume 89, 2004

There’s another possible drawback to the notion of an extraterrestrial origin of life, acknowledged by Chyba himself. The surface of early Earth would have been a very hostile place, he says. The biggest impacts would have generated enough heat to evaporate the entire ocean, probably several times. And leaving the biggest impacts aside, the upper tens of meters of the oceans would routinely have been evaporated and the surface of Earth sterilized by these giant impacts.” – “How Did Life Start?,” by Peter Radetsky, DISCOVER, Vol. 13 No. 11, November 1992, Biology & Medicine

In order to make the journey, a microbe would have to be a rugged generalist. Being tough, it would last for months in space, and once dropped onto a new planet, a generalist could thrive almost anywhere. If specialists survived the ride, by contrast, they would quickly die unless they were lucky enough to land on a spot to their liking.” – “Looking for Life in All the Wrong Places,” by Will Hively, DISCOVER, Vol. 18 No. 05, May 1997, Astronomy & Physics

In fact, landing on just the right spot on the otherwise inhospitable planet is regarded by some evolutionists as quite a difficult prospect. According to some scientists, the only feasible place for survival in this hostile world would have been the hydrothermal vents in the depths of the oceans.

The biggest impacts would have generated enough heat to evaporate the entire ocean, probably several times. And leaving the biggest impacts aside, the upper tens of meters of the oceans would routinely have been evaporated and the surface of Earth sterilized by these giant impacts. Where, then, in such a nightmarish environment, could emerging life have been sufficiently protected? The only safe place--safe, at least, after the last total evaporations were over and done with--would have been in the deep ocean. And that, says Jack Corliss, is where hydrothermal vents come into the picture.” – “How Did Life Start?,” by Peter Radetsky, DISCOVER, Vol. 13 No. 11, November 1992, Biology & Medicine

This brings up another unsolved obstacle in the current evolutionary scenario for the origin of life from another planet. While the quote above states that in order to survive the journey through space and survive on the hostile environment of earth’s past, a microorganism would have to be “a rugged generalist.” By contrast, the quote states that if the organism were “a specialist,” it wouldn’t survive the journey through space and, even if it did, it would likely die rather quickly on earth due to the improbability of it finding just the right spot that it is “specialized for.” However, the quote immediately above states that “the only safe place” in earth’s hostile environment would have been the deep sea hydrothermal vents. The problem is that the microorganisms that live near the hydrothermal vents are decisively “specialists” not “rugged generalists.” This fact is stated directly in the following article by Discover, which describes the organisms capable of populating hydrothermal vents as “extremophiles,” organisms suited to particular, extreme environments rather than “medium conditions.”

“Friedmann keeps a large collection of such death-defying organisms in his lab and studies them between treks to exotic environments. Over the course of his career he has become a connoisseur of extreme habitats--the worst on Earth. If you think you know what extreme means, think again. Friedmann has been mulling the concept for decades. It is not easy to define an extreme environment, he says. It is simply different from ours-- what we ourselves do not like. Among the denizens of the extreme are thermophiles that love water so hot it would kill us, psychrophiles that thrive in places so cold, halophiles in salt brine so strong, and barophiles under pressure so high that we’d expire. Together, such microbes are sometimes called extremophiles, as opposed to mesophiles--creatures, like us, that prefer medium conditions. Of course, from an extremophile’s point of view, we are the ones who live at extremes…Meanwhile deep-sea thermophiles have been found near vents at temperatures as high as 230 degrees.” – “Looking for Life in All the Wrong Places,” by Will Hively, DISCOVER, Vol. 18 No. 05, May 1997, Astronomy & Physics

Consequently, the only microorganisms that are likely to survive the interplanetary journey are rugged generalists. But the only organisms that could survive after the journey in the hostile environment of the earth at the time are extreme specialists. Effectively, there is no compatible scenario and no working or accepted explanation for panspermia within the evolutionary community.

Furthermore, not only would panspermia require an organism that is somehow simultaneously both a generalist and a specialist, but as we have already seen, such an organism would have to arrive at just the spot where it was specialized to live and at right time in earth’s history, after the last of “ocean-evaporating” impacts.

In order to make the journey, a microbe would have to be a rugged generalist. Being tough, it would last for months in space, and once dropped onto a new planet, a generalist could thrive almost anywhere. If specialists survived the ride, by contrast, they would quickly die unless they were lucky enough to land on a spot to their liking.” – “Looking for Life in All the Wrong Places,” by Will Hively, DISCOVER, Vol. 18 No. 05, May 1997, Astronomy & Physics

The biggest impacts would have generated enough heat to evaporate the entire ocean, probably several times. And leaving the biggest impacts aside, the upper tens of meters of the oceans would routinely have been evaporated and the surface of Earth sterilized by these giant impacts. Where, then, in such a nightmarish environment, could emerging life have been sufficiently protected? The only safe place--safe, at least, after the last total evaporations were over and done with--would have been in the deep ocean. And that, says Jack Corliss, is where hydrothermal vents come into the picture.” – “How Did Life Start?,” by Peter Radetsky, DISCOVER, Vol. 13 No. 11, November 1992, Biology & Medicine

The need for just the right kind of organism to arrive at just the right time and make it to just the right environment on an otherwise hostile earth, further adds to the extreme improbability of the panspermia scenario. Specifically, the quote above states that the only time that would have been safe for interplanetary migration to occur was after the last ocean-boiling impacts. This “improbability” seems to turn right into “impossibility” given the fact that, as we have seen, “ocean-boiling” impacts only became “increasingly rare” 3.5 billion years ago.

“The Primeval Biosphere – About 3.5 billion years ago large cometary impacts would have become increasingly rare, but when they did occur, they produced enormous cataclysms. The oceans would have boiled near the impact site, causing hurricanes and gigantic waterspouts with fantastic ejections of gas and water into space. Under these chaotic and seemingly inhospitable conditions, a phenomenon occurs that is going to have astonishing consequences: Bacteria begin to multiply in the hot waters of the first oceans.” – “An Argument for the Cometary Origin of the Biosphere,” Armand H. Delsemme, American Scientist, Volume 89, 2004

Current evolutionary theory requires that life was present on earth 3.8 billion years ago in order to have time to develop into the earliest organisms in the fossil record, which appear at 3.5 billion years ago and were already “quite sophisticated.”

Evolutionary biologists have traced our family tree to bacteria, one-celled organisms that have been found in rock formations 3.5 billion years old. But even these primitive creatures were already quite sophisticated. They had genes of DNA and RNA and were made of protein, lipids, and other ingredients. Something simpler must have preceded them.” – “How Did Life Start?,” by Peter Radetsky, DISCOVER, Vol. 13 No. 11, November 1992, Biology & Medicine

Exobiology, V PROSPECTS FOR DISCOVERYScientists now believe that life on Earth dates back to at least 3.85 billion years before present, so living organisms have populated Earth for more than 80 percent of its history.” – "Exobiology," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 99. © 1993-1998 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

“Earth [planet], History of Earth, Life on Earth – Fossils help scientists learn which kinds of plants and animals lived at different times in Earth's history. Scientists who study prehistoric life are called paleontologists. Many scientists believe that life appeared on Earth almost as soon as conditions allowed. There is evidence for chemicals created by living things in rocks from the Archean age, 3.8 billion years old. Fossil remains of microscopic living things about 3.5 billion years old have also been found at sites in Australia and Canada.” – Worldbook, Contributor: Steven I. Dutch, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Natural and Applied Sciences, University of Wisconsin, Green Bay.

“‘Bugs are very clever,’ Kasthuri Venkateswaran says with affection. ‘They started out on Earth 3.8 billion years ago, when nothing else was here!’…Venkateswaran quietly examines the machinery itself, searching for any clever microbes—‘bugs,’ he calls them—that might try to tag along.” – “Seeding the Universe,” by Alan Burdick, DISCOVER, Vol. 25 No. 10, October 2004, Astronomy & Physics

In short, the only feasible timeframe for life to migrate to the earth from space is after the ocean-boiling impacts, which ended at 3.5 billion years ago, 300 million years too late, 300 million years after the organisms would have needed to arrive. Thus, it would appear that not only is there insufficient time for life to originate on earth, but there also simply isn’t any time at which microorganisms could migrate to the earth from some space either.

We can further understand the improbability of panspermia by the fact that some evolutionary scientists limit such a scenario to possible only if it occurs within the solar system.

The fanciful notion that life spread through space--known as panspermia--has been tossed around for decades. Originally it was proposed as an interstellar inoculation, but now researchers are beginning to think seriously about a local, Mars-to-Earth version.” – “Looking for Life in All the Wrong Places,” by Will Hively, DISCOVER, Vol. 18 No. 05, May 1997, Astronomy & Physics

Moreover, as the quote below states, the odds of panspermia occurring from outside the galaxy are “1 in a billion” and, consequently, such a scenario is deemed impossible.

“Still, migrating microbes face significant obstacles. Until recently, no researchers had evaluated every stage of the scenario. Then a Swedish scientist rounded up a team to do just that…They soon found that panspermia seems viable only within our own solar system. One hitch in the old theory, he explains, was that interstellar nomads would face lethal radiation from cosmic rays, which strike far more frequently beyond the sun's magnetic shield. Even more important, Mileikowsky's team has calculated the probability of ejected planetary material reaching Earth from elsewhere in the Milky Way or from another galaxy. ‘It is one in a billion,’ says Mileikowsky. Given those odds, the probability is virtually nil that even one ejecta from the galaxy with still-viable microorganisms on board could have arrived on Earth during its first 500 million years. So Mileikowsky concludes, ‘Our ancestor cell must have been created within our own planetary system or in a nearby sister system born at the same time.’” – “Did Life on Earth Come From Mars?,” by Robert Irion, DISCOVER, Vol. 22 No. 08, August 2001

As indicated in the quotes above, the only other, more distant possibility is that the organic molecules came from a nearby “sister system” but that wouldn’t allow for the necessary additional time or more favorable conditions needed for life to originate. In evolutionary theory, planet forming processes are automatic, routine, uniform, and universal. Consequently, since the “sister system” would have formed around the same time as the earth, it wouldn’t have had a different climate or environment since it would have been going through the same general early stages of planet and solar system formation. Therefore, not only would the origination of life in a “sister system born at the same time” face the exact same environmental hazards as the origination of life on earth, but by the time the planet-forming processes behind those hazards subsided in order for life to form there, earth would be at about the same point in it’s geologic history as well, which is way too late for any interstellar journey to be made in time to reach earth 3.8 billion years ago. Effectively, the sister system scenario possesses neither the additional time nor the necessary environmental conditions that the panspermia suggestion exists to solve in the first place. This is unavoidably the case unless we make the unscientific and unobservable assumptions that the conditions there were different from our own solar system and instead were, for some unknown reason, optimum for the origin of life.

Consequently, only panspermia within the solar system remains viable, of which Mars is the nearest, most likely candidate.

But were enough rocks launched to make arrivals on the young Earth likely?...’It's surprisingly easy to get material from Mars to Earth,’ says Gladman. ‘If you launch stuff off Mars, there aren't a lot of other places to go.’ He found that up to 5 percent of the rocks launched from Mars land on Earth within 10 million years. Many arrive much sooner— some within a few years. Mileikowsky's team then deduced that 50 billion Martian rocks landed on Earth during the first 500 million years of the solar system. Of those, about 20,000 rocks struck Earth within a decade…If life ever existed on Mars, it's quite possible that it contaminated Earth repeatedly.” – Did Life on Earth Come From Mars?, by Robert Irion, DISCOVER, Vol. 22 No. 08, August 2001

However, panspermia scenarios in which life migrates to earth from Mars face significant prohibition. As indicated by the quote above, the timeframe for such a migration from Mars is identified as the very same time periods during which the earth is being bombarded with life-killing meteorites and comets.

If you go to the moon, says Chyba, or look at the craters on Mars or Mercury, what you see is that the whole inner solar system was being subjected to a very intense bombardment from space at that time. You can infer that the same was true for Earth.” – “How Did Life Start?,” by Peter Radetsky, DISCOVER, Vol. 13 No. 11, November 1992, Biology & Medicine

"Mars [planet], Physical features of Mars, Craters and impact basins. – Many meteoroids have struck Mars over its history, producing impact craters. Impact craters are rare on Earth for two reasons: (1) Those that formed early in the planet's history have eroded away, and (2) Earth developed a dense atmosphere, preventing meteorites that could have formed craters from reaching the planet's surface…Evolution of Mars - Periods of evolution. Scientists know generally how Mars evolved after it formed about 4.6 billion years ago. Their knowledge comes from studies of craters and other surface features...Researchers have ranked the relative ages of surface regions according to the number of impact craters observed. The greater the number of craters in a region, the older the surface there...During the Noachian Period, a tremendous number of rocky objects of all sizes, ranging from small meteoroids to large asteroids, struck Mars. The impact of those objects created craters of all sizes.” – Worldbook, Contributor: Steven W. Squyres, Ph.D., Professor of Astronomy, Cornell University.

Earth [planet], History of Earth – After the main period of planet formation, most of the remaining debris in the solar system was swept up by the newly formed planets. The collisions of the newly formed planets and debris material were explosive. The impacts created the cratered surfaces of the moon, Mars, Venus, and Mercury. Earth was also struck, but the craters produced by the impacts have all been destroyed by erosion and plate tectonics.” – Worldbook, Contributor: Steven I. Dutch, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Natural and Applied Sciences, University of Wisconsin, Green Bay

In fact, these lethal levels of bombardment are what is supplying the meteorites coming from Mars in the first place. So, even if 50 billion Martian rocks landed on Earth at this time, any organisms originating on Mars would not only face the same lethal environments on Mars before they left but would face them again on Earth once they arrived. Effectively, this scenario doesn’t offer any avoidance to the problems posed by earth’s violent early history, even though those are the very problems it is intended to resolve.

As we close our consideration of the possibility of relocating the origin of life to another planet, we find the following 2 contradicting facts admitted by evolutionary scientists. First, the factors and obstacles surrounding the prospect of life originating on earth itself (factors and obstacles which we’ve examined in detail) result in a probability so low that turning to panspermia as a solution is quite necessary. Second, the theory of panspermia itself is faced with the following list of prohibitive obstacles and improbabilities: the sheer amount of time involved in interplanetary travel, the heat of escape and entry impacts, the velocity of escape impacts, the near absolute zero temperature of space, the radiation exposure in space, the destructive break-up that occurs at impact, the need for any candidate organism to be both a generalist and a specialist at the same time, the improbability of such an organism finding survivable environment on earth when it arrived, the fact that the only feasible timeframe for such a migration is 300 million years too late in earth’s history, and the lack of a suitable planetary origin either within the solar system or in a nearby system or galaxy. And the combination of all these obstacles together only exponentially multiplies the improbabilities of panspermia as a feasible explanation for the origin of life without involving foresight.

With all of these obstacles and improbabilities, it is no wonder that while some evolutionary scientists are asserting the life from space scenario, other evolutionary scientists consider this scenario, at best, an unknown speculation.

“‘We don't have an answer yet for whether life could withstand space travel,’ muses Mancinelli. ‘But if it can, I wouldn't be surprised if a halophilic organism is the first extraterrestrial we find.’” – “Did Life on Earth Come From Mars?,” by Robert Irion, DISCOVER, Vol. 22 No. 08, August 2001

The fanciful notion that life spread through space--known as panspermia--has been tossed around for decades. Originally it was proposed as an interstellar inoculation, but now researchers are beginning to think seriously about a local, Mars-to-Earth version…Evidence is short for assigning life on Earth such a dramatic origin, and Friedmann is not acting as the idea’s evangelist.” – “Looking for Life in All the Wrong Places,” by Will Hively, DISCOVER, Vol. 18 No. 05, May 1997, Astronomy & Physics

Moreover, a large number of evolutionary scientists regard the suggestion of life from spaces as outright impossible and ridiculous. As the quotes below indicate, the famed Stanley Miller regards any version of this theory as “garbage,” including the criticism that even if pre-biotic material did manage to reach the earth it would never be in sufficient amounts to lead to bring about life on this planet. The second quote below asserts that “mainstream astrobiologists scoff at such ideas” as mere “wild speculation.”

“Not surprisingly, not everyone thinks so. If you have to depend on such low amounts of organic material as that found in IDPs, says Miller, then from the standpoint of making life on Earth you’re bankrupt. You’re in Chapter Eleven. Because you just don’t have enough. His point rests on simple common sense: the greater the amount of organics, the greater the possibility that they would have interacted with one another. Too few organics, and odds are that they could never have gotten together to begin the process of life in the first place. Organics from outer space, Miller scoffs. That’s garbage, it really is.” – How Did Life Start?, by Peter Radetsky, DISCOVER, Vol. 13 No. 11, November 1992, Biology & Medicine

Bacterial Evangelists – The eminent British astronomer Fred Hoyle and his former student astrophysicist Chandra Wickramasinghe of the Cardiff Centre for Astrobiology in Wales promote a far-reaching— and, to most scientists, far-fetched— view of panspermia. They believe that microbes migrate within comets and their dusty remnantsMainstream astrobiologists scoff at such ideas. No evidence supports the notion that comets harbor watery, microbial havens. Nor are there distinctive signs of bacterial life in the heavens. ‘That's wild speculation,’ says Peter Jenniskens, a meteor specialist at the NASA Ames Research Center.” – Did Life on Earth Come From Mars?, by Robert Irion, DISCOVER, Vol. 22 No. 08, August 2001

Two problems with panspermia scenarios are worth highlighting again at the end of this segment. First, as we’ve seen already, no matter what form it takes, panspermia simply postpones origin of life dilemma, relocating from the dilemmas facing such origins on earth to another world at another time.

Life, The origin of life, Hypotheses of origins – Perhaps the most fundamental and at the same time the least understood biological problem is the origin of life. It is central to many scientific and philosophical problems and to any consideration of extraterrestrial life. Most of the hypotheses of the origin of life will fall into one of four categories: …[3] Life is coeternal with matter and has no beginning; life arrived on the Earth at the time of the origin of the earth or shortly thereafter…Such an idea of course avoids rather than solves the problem of the origin of life.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Life, The origin of life, Modern theories Scientists have proposed two major theories of the origin of life. They are (1) the theory of panspermia and (2) the theory of chemical evolution. The theory of panspermia states that spores from some other part of the universe landed on Earth and began to develop…Even if the theory is true, it explains only the origin of life on Earth and not how life arose in the universe.” – Worldbook, Contributor: Harold J. Morowitz, Ph.D., Robinson Professor of Biology and Director of Krasnow Institute, George Mason University.

Panspermia may attempt to explain how life arrived on earth, but it still does not identify or demonstrate what processes overcame the chicken-and-egg dilemma created by the irreducible functional interdependence of cell components. Nor does it identify or demonstrate exactly how those processes were fueled by a sufficient energy supply while remaining in a safe environment that would prevent the pre-biotic chemicals from breaking down from normal, thermodynamic processes. And so, even if despite all the obstacles and improbabilities, some version of panspermia were true, that still would not provide evolutionary theory with any working scenario for how the origin of life actually came about by automatic, routine processes that proceed without foresight, only an explanation for how life came to earth after that origination already occurred on some other world.

This leads to a closely-related problem suffered by all versions of the panspermia scenario. This last problem is, in fact, completely disqualifying to panspermia as a scientific theory. From an earlier section of this article series, we recall that testability, falsifiability, and confirmation by empirical experience are requirements for any theory if that theory is to be considered science rather than mere pseudoscience or non-science.

Empiricisma philosophical approach that views experience as the most important source of knowledge. It is the philosophical outlook of most scientists.” – Worldbook Encyclopedia, Contributor: W. W. Bartley, III, Ph.D., Former Senior Research Fellow, Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace, Stanford University.

Empiricism – in philosophy, the attitude that beliefs are to be accepted and acted upon only if they first have been confirmed by actual experience.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Popper, Karl RaimundPopper wanted to mark the boundary between scientific and nonscientific accounts of the physical, psychological, and social world. Nonscientific accounts include those offered by astrology, mythology, and some forms of traditional philosophy and religion. This approach connects Popper with two overlapping philosophical movements, Logical Positivism and Empiricism. Philosophers representing these movements argue that meaningful scientific accounts differ from nonscientific ones in that only the scientific can be tested by experience.” – Worldbook, Contributor: Ivan Soll, Ph.D., Professor of Philosophy, University of Wisconsin, Madison.

“Empiricism, Criticism and evaluation, Criticism and evaluationOne important philosopher of science, Karl Popper, has rejected the inductivism that views the growth of empirical knowledge as the result of a mechanical routine of generalization. To him it is falsifiability by experience that makes a statement empirical.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Science, philosophy of, Historical development, The 20th-century debate: Positivists versus historians – Meanwhile, the qualified Realism of Planck and Hertz was carried further by such men as Norman Campbell, an English physicist known for his sharpening of the distinction between laws and theories, and Karl Popper, an Austro-English philosopher recognized for his theory of falsifiability, both of whose views reflect the explicit methodology of many working scientists today.” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

Science – A theory developed by a scientist cannot be accepted as part of scientific knowledge until it has been verified by the studies of other researchers. In fact, for any knowledge to be truly scientific, it must be repeatedly tested experimentally and found to be true. This characteristic of science sets it apart from other branches of knowledge. For example, the humanities, which include religion, philosophy, and the arts, deal with ideas about human nature and the meaning of life. Such ideas cannot be scientifically proved. There is no test that tells whether a philosophical system is "right." No one can determine scientifically what feeling an artist tried to express in a painting. Nor can anyone perform an experiment to check for an error in a poem or a symphony.” – Worldbook, Contributor: Joseph W. Dauben, Ph.D., Professor of History and the History of Science, City University of New York.

By relocating the origin of life to an unknown world, panspermia scenarios relegate evolutionary theories for the origin of life directly to the realm of un-testability and un-falsifiability. Because it is an identified location in an identified timeframe with identified conditions, the early earth does provide at least some measure of a test for the suggested theories of the origin of life. Relocating the origin of life to an unknown planet in the unknown and distant past where conditions are unknown does 2 things. First, it allows for avoiding what modern evolutionary science does consider to be “known facts” pertaining to the early history of the earth – facts against which evolutionary theories for the origin of life could be at least partially tested. Second, it makes testing and falsifying evolutionary theories for the origin of life impossible because there is no way to know what conditions were like on an unknown planet at an unknown time so that we can check the hypothesis to see if it fits with observable facts and evidence about such an imaginary setting. In fact, concerning this very point, in the quote below evolutionary scientists Imre Friedmann indicates that origins theories, which require life to originate on another planet, are “speculation” and are not “real” because they are not “here” and, therefore, cannot be “checked.”

“All these facts about Mars--along with new data about other worlds in our solar system and beyond--have restored the excitement to exobiology. But for Friedmann, facts about Earth have always come first. Distant planets inspire speculation, but so does the one planet where, for now, we can check hunches about where to find life against nature’s actual results. And when the search gets down to microbes, much of Earth remains unexplored. I do believe it is better to work on terrestrial samples, Friedmann says. Which are real. Which are here.” – Looking for Life in All the Wrong Places, by Will Hively, DISCOVER, Vol. 18 No. 05, May 1997, Astronomy & Physics

In other words, panspermia theories are “un-testable” and “un-falsifiable.” And theories relocating the origin of life to other planets are by their very nature, fundamentally un-falsifiable, they are not scientific and therefore cannot help the theory of evolution if that theory is to remain within the realm of science rather than pseudo-science.

Having demonstrated in detail that modern evolutionary theory simply has no working hypothesis for the origin of life, neither from space nor on earth, neither in deep sea vents, on land, in shallow pools, or tens of meters deep in the ocean, not fueled by lightning, ultraviolet light, nor heat or chemical reactions, our definition of evolutionary theory is once again shown to be accurate rather than the product of bias. And this fact is even more cemented by the fact that all of the quotes and sources cited to demonstrate these claims have been from secular sources, evolutionary scientists, and mainstream scientific magazines themselves, not creationist sources.

4) Various theoretical scenarios are offered for the origin of life. And although each individual scenario is acknowledged to be insufficient due to environmental prohibitions involving chemicals and energy sources, the known geologic history of the earth, and statistical improbabilities particularly those surrounding the arrival of cellular systems that are currently irreducibly functionally interdependent, the origin of life is asserted to be the result of automatic, routine processes, in a yet unobserved environment perhaps even occurring on another planet at an unknown time in the past when conditions and time allotments would be ideal.

For emphasis, we close this section by once again citing evolutionists own quotes concerning the current status of evolutionary theory on the issue of the origin of life by automatic, routine processes that proceed without foresight. From the beginning of evolutionary theory, Darwin himself considered the origin of life question to be exceedingly difficult and one that was not answered by his evolution theory.

The (from life), The origin of life, Hypotheses of origins – Although Darwin would not commit himself on the origin of life, others subscribed to Hypothesis 4 more resolutely, notably the famous British biologist T.H. Huxley in his Protoplasm, the Physical Basis of Life (1869), and the British physicist John Tyndall in his “Belfast Address” of 1874...The primitive atmosphere – Darwin's attitude was: ‘It is mere rubbish thinking at present of the origin of life; one might as well think of the origin of matter.’” – Encyclopaedia Britannica 2004 Deluxe Edition

To this day, nothing has changed. Evolution still has no working or accepted theory for the origin of life, except to assert its philosophical dislike for teleology, no matter how much the evidence indicates that intelligent foresight is necessary to explain the extraordinary coincidence of circumstances that are necessary for the origin of life.

Even if life came from elsewhere, we would still have to account for its first development. Thus we might as well assume that life started on earth. How this momentous event happened is still highly conjectural, though no longer purely speculative.” – “The Beginnings of Life on Earth,” Christian de Duve, American Scientist, September-October 1995

Questions about life’s origin are as old as Genesis and as young as each new morning. For scientists, there are no definitive answers. But if no one has yet pinned down the secret, it hasn’t been for lack of trying. Those investigating the origin of life are a rambunctious, scrappy group, in which no two people see things quite the same way; and it doesn’t help that it’s awfully tough to prove or disprove any particular contention…What were those first organic compounds? And how did they form? The questions bedevil origin-of-life researchers. Over the years they have come up with a host of imaginative and intensely debated possibilities.” – “How Did Life Start?,” by Peter Radetsky, DISCOVER, Vol. 13 No. 11, November 1992, Biology & Medicine

“Perhaps the most influential first surfaced four decades ago, when in a dramatic experiment a University of Chicago graduate student named Stanley Miller simulated the creation of life in a laboratoryAnd the simple experiment (It’s so easy to do--high school students now use it to win their science fairs, Miller says) stimulated a rush of studies, with the result that a number of other organic compounds, including adenine and guanine, two of the ingredients of RNA and DNA, were produced by similar proceduresThus emerged the picture that has dominated origin-of-life scenarios. Some 4 billion years ago, lightning (or another energy source, like ultraviolet light or heat) stimulated a hydrogen-rich atmosphere to produce organic compounds, which then rained down into the primitive ocean or other suitable bodies of water such as lakes, rivers, or even a warm little pond, as Charles Darwin once suggested. Once there, these simple compounds, or monomers, combined with one another to produce more complicated organics, or polymers, which gradually grew even more complex until they coalesced into the beginnings of self-replicating RNA. With that came the RNA world and ultimately the evolution into cells and the early bacterial ancestors of life. The picture is powerful and appealing, but not all origin-of-life researchers are convinced. Even Miller throws up his hands at certain aspects of it. The first step, making the monomers, that’s easy. We understand it pretty well. But then you have to make the first self-replicating polymers. That’s very easy, he says, the sarcasm fairly dripping. Just like it’s easy to make money in the stock market--all you have to do is buy low and sell high. He laughs. Nobody knows how it’s done. Some would say the statement applies as well to the first easy step, the creation of simple organic compounds.” – “How Did Life Start?,” by Peter Radetsky, DISCOVER, Vol. 13 No. 11, November 1992, Biology & Medicine

Having established the accuracy of point 4 of our definition of evolutionary theory that in the words of evolutionary scientists themselves evolution has no working or scientifically supported explanation for the origin of life, we are ready to move on and similarly demonstrate the accuracy of point 5 regarding the evolutionary theory for the origin of species.


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