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Published January 25, 2002 | public
Journal Article

Mars, Panspermia, and the Origin of life: Where did it all begin?


During the nineteenth century, when steady-state cosmological theories were in vogue, Lord Kelvin, Svante Arrhenius, and other eminent scientists believed that the transfer of life from one planet to another was a process made inevitable by the infinite extent and duration of the universe. This hypothesis, known as panspermia, subsequently fell out of favor, partly as a result of the acceptance of the Big Bang theory. Most efforts to understand the origin of life have since been framed by the assumption that life began on Earth.

Additional Information

© 2002 Coquina Press. We thank F. Macdonald and F. Baudenbacher for assembling the image of Figure 1, and the NASA Astrobiology Institute and the NASA Exobiology program for supporting this research.

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