|Martian soil may have 'potential for life'|
|Written by Chris Perver|
|Sunday, 03 August 2008 14:26|
Last week NASA scientists announced that the Phoenix Lander, a robotic spacecraft that was sent to the red planet a year ago, has been successful in its mission to locate water. After several failed attempts, NASA experts were finally able to scoop some soil containing ice into one of Phoenix's miniature ovens. These soil samples were heated and the vapour analysed to see what chemicals were contained in the ice. The hydrogen and oxygen that was given off, along with the extra power required to heat water told the scientists what they already knew, that there is some water on Mars. Despite the claims that Mars may have once been awash with water, no sign of life has ever been detected on the red planet. A few years ago scientists discovered a Martian meteorite that contained very small carbon structures. It was claimed at the time that these structures were proof that life once existed on the red planet. Those claims were later retracted and most scientists agreed that these structures arose through non-biological processes. But NASA has briefed the US government on the findings of this latest mission, and is expected to announce later this month that Martian soil may be capable of supporting life. Not that there was life there originally, but that it could theoretically support life given the right conditions.
Quote: "News media cited the water ice finding as a major discovery, but it was totally expected by the science team. The different MECA data combined with TEGA is increasingly compelling as another piece in the puzzle of life. The key is in the soil and water, and how the two behave together at that site on Mars, not the expected confirmation of water ice at this stage in the mission, Mars investigators told Aviation Week. The MECA instrument, in its first of four wet chemistry runs a month ago, found soil chemistry that is "Earth-like" and capable of supporting life, researchers said then. It is intriguing that MECA could have found anything more positive than that, but NASA and the University of Arizona are taking steps to prevent word from leaking out on the nature of the discovery made during MECA's second soil test, in which water from Earth was automatically stirred with Martian soil.
I find this news extremely interesting. Sometimes I wonder what Mars was like in the past. We have a written record of the dramatic changes that Earth has endured over the past 6000 years, with Noah's flood and the collapse of the vapour canopy. Could it be that the flood was triggered by some cataclysmic event in the solar system? Could Mars have been affected by this? We aren't told. But the Bible does state that because of Adam's sin, the whole of creation groans and travails in pain until now (Romans 8:19-22). Even the outer space has been affected by Adam's sin (Job 15:15). And we know that following the Millennial Reign of Christ, God will create new heavens and a new earth wherein dwells righteousness (2nd Peter 3:13). Then sometimes I wonder why mankind shows more interest in a planet that's dead than one in which life abounds? We spend millions of dollars exploring planets that we know to be devoid of life, while neglecting the life that now occupies our own planet. I'm talking about Africa and other places, where people die every day because they haven't any food or water. Finding water on Mars isn't going to help them any. I think the reason why man is so interested in the moon and Mars is because of our sin. Mankind was created to be the caretaker of Earth (Genesis 2:15). He was instructed by God to fill the earth and subdue it (Genesis 1:28). But he has neglected his God-given responsibility. Instead of filling the earth, mankind built cities (Genesis 4:17). Instead of taking care of a planet teeming with life, mankind has forsaken his own planet and now looks to Mars for the future. Perhaps if Mars was at one time capable of sustaining life, it is a mercy of God that it is not now.
Praise God that despite man's utter failure to fulfill his God-given role, we do have a glorious future to look forward to. And we know that when Christ returns, and following the Millennial Reign of Christ, there will be new heavens and a new earth wherein dwells righteousness. And just like Mars, Revelation tells us that there will be no more sea (Revelation 21:1). And no more death, nor crying, nor pain, nor sorrow (Revelation 21:4), for the former things are passed away. Will you be one of the ones who will inhabit this new earth? You can be, if you have trusted Jesus Christ for salvation. Adam's sin brought ruin to this world (1st Corinthians 15:22), but Jesus Christ has brought salvation (Titus 2:11). Through His sacrifice upon the cross, all who repent of their sins and believe on Him for salvation can have everlasting life. Trust in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation today.