Life on Earth could have descended from Mars
Seth Shostak, director of the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) institute – one of the global leaders in alien hunting – says life on Earth could be a byproduct of what has been happening on Mars.
Rather than saying aliens have travelled across the Solar System to plant life on Earth, Mr Shostak says there was a chance an asteroid collided with Mars, causing dirt from the planet to be flung across space before landing here.
He said: "It's possible that billions of years ago, tiny bits of biology quit the Red Planet and infected ours.
"If so, your family tree – and that of every other terrestrial life form – has its deepest roots not in the ancient oceans of Earth, but in the vanished seas of Mars.”
Life could have been transferred between the two planets
The claim is based on a theory known as panspermia. According to this theory, certain microorganisms could survive the lifeless space between planets.
The microorganisms could have been flung from Mars, or any planet for that matter, when an asteroid collides with it.
An asteroid collision with Mars could have flung microbial life towards Earth
Writing in the Huffington Post, Mr Shostak added: "Scientists estimate that in the early days of the solar system, billions of rocks between an inch and a yard in size were involuntarily shuttled from the Red Planet to ours.
"In its youth, Mars was wetter and warmer than now, and could have spawned living things at a time when Earth was as lifeless as an octogenarian slumber party.
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"Because so many martian rocks were kicked into space, it's highly probable that at least some would have come from an inhabited patch of Mars – assuming it had inhabitants.
"And some of those would have landed in a suitably welcoming patch of Earth.”
Under the theory the potential microorganisms from Mars could have then grown and evolved on Earth.