We are back on Mars with NASA's newest rover, Perseverance. This mission is tasked with answering the age-old question of whether Mars has ever harbored life. We should remember that all the previous robotic visitors since the 1970s have had this same objective.

The theory of abiogenesis or chemical evolution, that biologic systems evolved from nonbiologic chemicals, is strongly embraced by most of the theorists and designers of the Martian rovers. Their mission, in part, is to validate the theory of evolution. Beyond accessing the geologic history of Mars, the rovers, using onboard spectrometers, search for the molecular vestiges of past life on Mars. In doing this, they look for chemical signatures that can be made only by biological processes.

For example, what is true on Earth is true on Mars. On Earth, the average natural abundance of carbon 12 to carbon 13 is 90 to 1. But if you were to analyze the residue from something that was once alive, the ratio would be 92 to 1, a definite biosignature. Think about this: Had there been even microbial life on Mars in its past, molecular evidence, like the carbon biosignatures it left behind, would be discoverable in the airborne dust found everywhere.

Their absence should be more than enough to lead secular scientists to conclude that chemical evolution of life is an invalid hypothesis for Mars, and that the "message from Mars" should lead to the same conclusions for Earth.

Pastor Kent Knight (retired)

Hermiston Seventh-day Adventist Church

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