Prospects of Martian Oceans Excite Astronomers

on June 16, 2007

LiveScience: “Mystery Solved: Mars Had Large Oceans

A study published in this week’s issue of the journal Nature supports the nearly two-decades-old idea that Mars hosted vast oceans more than two billion years ago. The study’s authors argue that “a massive toppling over of the planet” explains why Martian “shorelines” are hillier than was previously thought possible for former shorelines. Subsurface forces are thought to have caused the toppling, supposed to have started more than “a billion years ago.” The LiveScience report on the study does not explain how the scientists estimated the timeline of the shoreline’s disruption.

It is interesting to see how planetary scientists have concluded, with relatively little evidence, that a planet with no liquid water once had giant oceans.

Nothing in the Bible rules out a Martian ocean (though God’s Word would certainly rule out the two-billion-year timeline), but it is interesting to see how planetary scientists have concluded, with relatively little evidence, that a planet with no liquid water once had giant oceans. (That’s not to say we disagree with all the conclusions.) Yet many of these same scientists scoff at the idea that earth—two-thirds of whose surface is currently underwater—was once covered due to a global flood, despite the earth’s extensive, water-carved geological features.

Of course, the idea of a Martian deluge is music to the ears of evolutionists who still have faith in the existence (past or present) of Martian life! For a closer look at the proposed Martian “flood,” see Was Noah a Martian?

As for our Search for Terrestrial Intelligence this week, Roger Highfield reports in the UK’s The Telegraph on the fervent views seven “leading British astronomers” have on extraterrestrial life. We’ve excerpted some of the more mind-bogglingly over-enthusiastic comments Highfield recorded in his article, titled “Aliens really do exist!” (Some paragraphs have been edited together.)

Prof John Zarnecki of The Open University bullishly told the minister: “My position is very simple. We will find extinct or some life in the solar system.” He believes primitive bugs, or their remains, will be found in 2015 when a European Space Agency mission will land on Mars to dig into its dusty red surface. […] And he has high hopes for a future mission to the icy moon Europa, the heart of which is warmed by tidal forces as it orbits Jupiter. “We shall find life on Europa in 2023,” he told us with determination.

One wonders if Professor Zarnecki has these discoveries predicted to the hour!

Prof Glenn White, of The Open University and Rutherford Appleton lab, said: “We are pretty sure that we will have an extremely high probability of telling you whether life has started on a planet. By around 2020 we will have very definitive answers.”

Professor White’s comment is interesting: they are pretty sure of determining whether life has started on a planet—implying that if it hasn’t (as, we believe, further examination will show), it’s merely a matter of time before the answer comes.

“Our own planet proves that life can flourish quickly.”

Sadly, Highfield apparently buys into the exuberance, rationalizing these astronomers’ eager claims by penning that, “Our own planet proves that life can flourish quickly.” In other words, the fuel for this wild speculation is (unsurprisingly) the presupposition that terrestrial life is the result of abiogenesis and eons of evolution.

Finally, the ESA’s Dr. Michael Perryman quips:

“If there is intelligent life out there, they sure as h--- know we are here.”

We’re sure our readers can imagine our response to that.


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Answers in Genesis is an apologetics ministry, dedicated to helping Christians defend their faith and proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ effectively. We focus on providing answers to questions about the Bible—particularly the book of Genesis—regarding key issues such as creation, evolution, science, and the age of the earth.