Was Mars the Cradle of Life?
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
The problem of life’s origin remains one of the great outstanding challenges to science. Ever since Charles Darwin mused about a “warm little pond” incubating life beneath sunny primeval skies, scientists have speculated about the exact location of this transforming event. Nearly a century and a half later, we remain almost completely ignorant of the physical processes that led from a nonliving chemical mixture to the first autonomous organism. However, some progress at least has been made on tracking down where and when life first established itself on Earth. Fossil evidence suggests that the biological record extends back at least 3.5 billion years, pointing to a still earlier origin1. But this presents a problem. The cratering record of the moon implies that Earth was subjected to intense bombardment by large comets and asteroids over an extended duration until about 3.8 billion years ago. The largest of these impacts would have released enough energy to swathe the planet in incandescent rock vapour, boiling the oceans and sending sterilizing heat pulses a kilometre into the exposed crust2. This unpromising setting – hardly a secure one for warm little ponds – has prompted some astrobiologists to conjecture that life began somewhere else and came to Earth readymade3. Favourite among extraterrestrial originating locations is the planet Mars4.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
No categories specified
(categorize this paper)
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library||
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Stephen Jay Gould, Stretching to Fit: How Life Explores and Colonizes the Landscape of Imaginable Form.
Brooke Alan Trisel (2012). Intended and Unintended Life. Philosophical Forum 43 (4):395-403.
Carol E. Cleland (2013). Pluralism or Unity in Biology: Could Microbes Hold the Secret to Life? Biology and Philosophy 28 (2):189-204.
Carol E. Cleland (2012). Life Without Definitions. Synthese 185 (1):125-144.
Normunds Titāns, Hypothesis of Extraterrestrial Origins of Life on Earth and Its Anthropologically-Theological Implications: Rhawn Joseph's Case.
Added to index2010-12-22
Total downloads15 ( #233,098 of 1,793,093 )
Recent downloads (6 months)6 ( #137,784 of 1,793,093 )
How can I increase my downloads?