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Arches National Park Geology Tour provides an extensive, visually rich description of the geology of Arches, by Deborah Ragland, Ph.D. See our DVD collection.
An image of the interior of a Martian rock. Some scientists believe the worm-like shape is a fossil of a microbe from Mars.
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Courtesy of NASA

Are We From Mars?
News story originally written on January 19, 2000

A recent study shows there is a possibility that we came from Mars! No, that doesn't mean a spaceship flew here and dropped us off. Rather, scientists say chunks of rock were thrown off the Red Planet billions of years ago. These rocks may have contained tiny microbes that started life on Earth.

Scientists say Mars is a logical source of life. They say trillions of rocks were broken off Mars by colliding asteroids. If this is true, then a large number of these rocks would have made it to Earth. Unfortunately, only a few Martian rocks have been found, but scientists say there are more to be discovered.

Although there is no chance for life to exist on Mars now, long ago the planet was capable of supporting life. At that time, it had mild temperatures, the proper atmosphere and water. In order for the microbes to make it to Earth, they must have been buried deep inside the rocks. The rock itself would protect the microbes from radiation and the intense heat that would come from entering our atmosphere.

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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF