Kids Feedback: Life on Mars?

by Dr. Elizabeth Mitchell on December 2, 2011

My son came from school with “They found plants and water on the moon, and Mars.” Landan was informed that plant life was found to be on Mars through the color spectrum. My son is 14—8th grade. What do you have to refute this? I'm a 24-6 creation believer. Thanks for your time



We’re glad to hear of your desire to give your son solid answers to his questions. As we approach questions like these, we like to deal with the information (or misinformation) itself as well as its implications.

What Did They Find?

Mars is nicknamed “the Red Planet.” It is so red due to the iron in its soil. Here on earth most plants are green because they contain chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is a pigment that uses sunlight and carbon dioxide gas to make sugar. Those scientists who believe life evolved think green chlorophyll evolved on Earth because it was most suited to the lighting conditions produced by Earth’s atmosphere. Therefore, they think plant life on Mars could have evolved with a different color pigment more suited to the planet’s color. Sometimes the colors and shapes seen through telescopes have made people wonder if they were seeing evidence of plant life or liquid water on Mars. However, none of the Mars rovers have confirmed any evidence of plant life or liquid water there (although they may have found ice). And our manned moon missions have likewise not found any plant life or liquid water on the moon.

What Are They Looking For?

Curiosity, the newest Mars rover, launched in November 2011, will take up the search where the last rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, left off. Their seven-year missions failed to find liquid water but did find some clay minerals. Some scientists think the clay suggests Mars once had liquid water underground. Since life on Earth requires water, those who believe life evolved think life could evolve anywhere there is water.

Curiosity will be searching some of those deeper layers for water and organic chemicals like those found in some meteorites. Organic chemicals contain carbon. Organic chemicals can be made by living things, but they also are produced by other processes. Therefore, the presence of such chemicals does not prove a living thing made them.

Curiosity will land in Gale Crater, which is twice as deep as the Grand Canyon. Curiosity has a drill and a laboratory to analyze sediment layers in the crater’s walls. NASA scientists want to see if the chemicals buried during Mars’ past suggest that life could have evolved there.

Why Does It Matter?

People who believe life evolved from non-living chemicals think if they find water and the right chemicals on Mars then life might have evolved there too. The Bible does not say that God didn’t create life elsewhere, but the Bible does tell us God created all life on Earth during the first six days of Creation week about 6,000 years ago. People looking for evidence life on Mars believe life came into being all on its own, without God. They believe this even though scientists have never seen that happen. So if scientists ever do find liquid water or organic chemicals on Mars, that will not mean life once evolved there. And even if they were to find living microorganisms or plants on Mars, that would not mean those life-forms evolved. God created all things with a purpose by the power of His Word. He did not leave the creation of anything in the universe to chance.

Parents, if your children have any questions, please submit them using the “contact us” section on our main website.