With the evidence now mounting that life on Earth may have come from our planetary neighbour Mars, we have been once again placed at the crossroads of knowledge, that directly questions our place in the Universe. Although the idea of panspermia, or exospermia, that life on Earth is essentially extraterrestrial, even possibly extrasolar, has been doing the rounds for some years now, it has now got the backing from leading scientists of the world studying exobiology and astrobiology. According to prominent members of these closely related fields, a complex molecule essential to origin and replication of life, would only have been available on the surface of the Red Planet, and it is from there that the ‘seeds’ of life arrived on Earth, riding meteorites that blasted off from it after asteroid impacts or volcanic eruptions.
Evidently, the oxidised form of molybdenum, considered to be a catalyst that helped organic molecules develop into primordial living structures, such as DNA, RNA and complex proteins, was found in the surface of Mars, thereby hinting at a radically new history of evolution of life, and certainly forcing us to rethink our place in the scheme of things.
First of all, the direct implication of this discovery is that life on Earth is possibly not unique and life itself, as a phenomenon, might not be that uncommon, given the basic constitution of stars staying more or less the same across galaxies. Moreover, carbon-based life, which the Earthlings basically are, is also a replicable form, although the main element, carbon, might be replaced by another heavier element. Secondly, the fact that it is on Earth that life has flourished and not on Mars, which had water at a distant point of time in its 3.5 billion years of existence, but which lost the crucial compound, water, because its lesser gravitational field owing to smaller mass, tells us that life is also a matter of chance, since the exact conditions for it to flourish are rather limited.