Scientists say new evidence suggests that life may have started on Mars and transferred to Earth on an interplanetary meteorite. The story barely made a blip in the news, and I’ve been wondering why. I once read that the discovery of aliens would profoundly and permanently change human civilization. By itself, the knowledge that we were not alone would have significant theological implications. So why wouldn’t the notion that we may not be natives of Earth–that we’re mere migrants or, worse, hitchhikers–be a major news story?
Nearly all cultures have a human creation story. But whether humans are believed to have been created by a supreme being, or whether it’s believed we came from inside the Earth itself, the Earth is a central player in these stories. I would have thought a potential change to where we really started would be a big deal.
Maybe we’re preoccupied by the stresses of our daily lives. Maybe we’re grateful to have landed where the weather is only like Antarctica in Antarctica. Maybe we just don’t care where our microbial ancestors originated. Or maybe all that matters is where home is now, like Texans proud to be Texans, though they themselves are just second generation. Humans have always been wanderers, on to the next place when things got tough at home or when it just caught our fancy. Sounds like we may have been wandering far longer than we ever imagined.
“Mars ain’t the kind of place to raise your kids. In fact, it’s cold as hell.” –Elton John, Rocket Man