NASA announces evidence for water on Mars

Not yet definitive

4 March 2004

NASA announced on Tuesday that their scientists have uncovered evidence that part of Mars was once ‘soaking wet’.

One of NASA’s goals for the current space missions to Mars is to check for water.  We detailed this in December (Creation 26(1):10–15) when we reported that there were three spacecraft en route at that time. 

Each of the three craft landed on a different part of Mars.  NASA’s two rovers, Spirit and Opportunity, have been sending back information for weeks. 

However, the European Space Agency’s craft was not so successful.  Nothing has been heard from it since it landed on 25 December 2003.  Dubbed Beagle 2 (with obvious identification with Darwin’s voyage and evolution), the project team recently announced a public ‘event’ to take place at the Royal Society, UK, on 8 March.  Perhaps they will issue a formal death certificate.

As we pointed out in our December report, these Mars missions have a bigger agenda than discovering water.  The billion-dollar budget and the search for water have a religious significance aimed at justifying the secular, evolutionary explanation for the origin of life on Earth. 

The scientist in charge of Mars exploration, Dr James Garvin, reiterated that purpose on Tuesday.  He said NASA wanted to see whether at least one part of Mars ever had ‘a persistently wet environment that could have possibly have been hospitable to life’.  He added triumphantly ‘Today we have strong evidence for an exciting answer: Yes’. 

Unfortunately, this statement is misleading.  It gives the impression that NASA scientists have discovered strong evidence for life, whereas they are only announcing evidence for water.  And they are even coy about that.

In our article in December, we warned readers to ‘expect a big splash’ if one of the missions finds evidence for water (and we felt they had a good chance).  We expected any such announcement would include the claim that life came to Earth from Mars. 

Although NASA has not stated they have evidence for life on Mars, we see they are alluding in this direction.  Other media reports have not been as restrained.  We read statements such as ‘could have supported life’, ‘know exactly where to look for past life’, ‘a habitable climate’ and ‘this was a habitable place’. 

We need to remember that such claims go far beyond the evidence and fly in the face of all observed scientific facts. 

Science has proved that life cannot form spontaneously from lifeless chemicals.  Even the simplest reproducing organism is incredibly complex.  It could not have assembled itself from chemicals by chance.  (See Q&A: Origin of life.)

The watery clues transmitted by Opportunity and announced on Tuesday were from a target rock named ‘El Capitan’.  These included 1) abundant small indentations about 10 mm long and 3 mm wide called vugs,  2) layers in the rock resembling cross-bedding, 3) spheres about 5 mm across embedded in the outcrop, and 4) indications of minerals related to water. 

Although NASA released this news to the world’s media, their scientists have not yet formally published in the scientific literature and given other scientists the opportunity to analyze their claims.

So, although the NASA press release boldly claims they found water, it includes a note of caution.  It concludes by saying the evidence is ‘not adequate for a definitive answer’, and that they plan to ‘maneuver Opportunity closer to the features for a better look’.

A humanity that has rejected the Word of God and the real history of the universe contained in the Bible will continue to see answers in all the wrong places.  Life did not come from Mars, but Jesus Christ our Creator is the ‘author of life’ (Acts 3:15).

Published: 8 February 2006