When one calculates the likelihood of life's origin, one finds that it is extremely low. Originating by chance, life anywhere in the universe should be rare. Actually, Darwinists are not sure how unlikely extraterrestrial life is. They agree it's probably rare, but if it is too rare, that weakens the case for its by-chance origin on Earth. Richard Dawkins allows three possibilities: life is likely to arise only 1) once per universe, 2) once per galaxy, or 3) once per solar system (2). Others such as John Barrow and Frank Tipler in The Anthropic Cosmological Principle say firmly, "...the universe has to be as big as it is in order to support just one lonely outpost of life" (3). "...The consensus of modern evolutionists is that the evolution of life on Earth ...is so improbable that it is most unlikely to occur elsewhere in our galaxy" (4). Common sense says that if life begins by chance, it's rare.
Cosmic Ancestry predicts that life will be found anywhere it can get a toehold. If it exists on one planet, other planets orbiting the same star were very likely exposed to it. Therefore, Cosmic Ancestry predicts that other planets within our own solar system should show evidence of life. Now of course, after David McKay's team from NASA published its findings (5), it looks like a reasonable bet that Mars once had life. Intriguing photos like the one above and others, showing what NASA believes are fossilized "nanobacteria," were accompanied by analyses of chemical layers that are best explained by biological activity.
It is interesting to remember that before oxygen could accumulate in Earth's atmosphere, all the exposed iron had to rust. During that process, lasting hundreds of millions of years, Earth was also a red planet. Could the oxygen that rusted the iron on Mars have been produced biologically? Could life on Mars have simply "run out of steam" after that stage of its development?
Comparison of predictions: Darwinsm and Cosmic AncestryThe theory must be made to stick its neck out — Imre Lakatos (8)
Unfortunately, even if life on Mars is just like life on Earth, that won't prove to everyone the case for Cosmic Ancestry. It could be taken as evidence for a weaker form of panspermia variously called "impact panspermia," "ballistic panspermia," or "litho-panspermia," in which cells are carried to neighboring planets on the debris ejected by major impacts (11). (This idea was prominently mentioned following NASA's August 7, 1996, announcement — maybe life originated there instead of here.) Ignoring panspermia altogether, martian life with the same system as ours could be used as evidence that the origin of our kind of life, from chemicals, is easy after all. The Darwinian paradigm is tenacious.
One benefit of the recent analysis of the Mars meteorite is an improvement in methods of analyzing meteorites for the presence of fossils. It would be interesting to use the new methods on carbonaceous chondites — meteorites not from Mars but from spent comets, most likely. Examples are the Murchison, Orgueil, Ivuna or Allende meteorites, where earlier researchers using older methods have already seen what they believed to be fossilized microbes. Fortunately, this effort is already under way, with very interesting results announced on July 29, 1997, in San Diego, by NASA scientist Richard Hoover (12).