Creation Studies Institute
Rover on Mars
 


Move over Rover and let Curiosity take over
by Steven Rowitt, Ph.D.

The origin of the phrase “move over rover” seems to be lost to us today. Some trace it back to a less than innocent limerick; however, the modern usage can be directly linked to iconic guitar legend Jimi Hendrix and his rock classic, “Let Me Stand Next to your Fire.” I will not go any further other than to say that the title refers to moving a dog away from a fireplace, so that a cold Jimi Hendrix could warm himself up, e.g. “Move over rover and let Jimi take over” (Song Facts, 2012).

The real reason for my comment has to do with the “rover” series of space probes that have been sent into outer space with the mission of finding water. It is based on the evolutionary concept that carbon-based life forms require H2O to exist. NASA scientists have come to use the expression, “we’re just chasing the water” when they talk about the underlying reason that justifies the exploration our solar system. It is really NASA geek-speak for the evolutionary concept concerning the origin of life. They believe, if you mix dirt and water together, oh, let’s say for a couple of billion years, then life will spontaneously materialize. While some might characterize this as an oversimplification, when you examine abiogenesis, or the new and seemingly more scientific sounding name biopoiesis, you are describing how life can arise via natural processes from inorganic matter between 4.0 and 3.6 billion years ago, (Wikipedia, 2012).

It would be nice if that were possible; however, all attempts to produce life as we now it in the laboratory have ended in dismal failure. That includes the much-heralded icon of evolution, the Miller Urey experiment. Never mind that the work of Miller and Urey has been thoroughly debunked (Luskin, 2012). The peer reviewed paper by Dr. Joseph Kuhn from the department of surgery Baylor University Medical Center poses a number of challenges to both chemical and biological evolution. Titled “Dissecting Darwinism,” the paper begins by recounting some of the arguments raised during the 2009 Texas State Board of Education debate that challenged chemical and biological evolution. Those challenges include:

1. Limitations of the chemical origin of life data to explain the origin of
DNA.

2. Limitations of mutation and natural selection theories to address the
irreducible complexity of the cell.

3. Limitations of transitional species data to account for the multitude of changes involved in the transition (Kuhn, 2012).

Kuhn is really voicing concerns that Bible believers and Intelligent Design theorists have been articulating for decades. Because of evolution’s stranglehold on the public education system as well as the monopoly that these hyper-materialists enjoy in academia, it is nearly impossible for opposing views to get a fair hearing in science publications. The documentary film Expelled chronicled the adversarial conditions that anyone in a teaching position at a major university or even the Smithsonian Institution will face if anyone deviates from the party line concerning the validity of Darwinian evolution.

In a letter to Smithsonian biologist Dr. Richard Sternberg, the United States Office of Special Counsel (OSC) writes, “it is... clear that a hostile work environment was created with the ultimate goal of forcing you out of the [Smithsonian Institution].”

Dr. Sternberg, who holds two PhDs in evolutionary biology [the first in molecular evolution from Florida International University, and a second in systems science from Binghamton University], was persecuted by Smithsonian colleagues for allowing the publication of an article skeptical of Darwinian evolution and advocating intelligent design, in the peer-reviewed biology journal Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, published out of the Smithsonian. The article was written by Discovery [Institute’s] Dr. Stephen Meyer, a Cambridge educated philosopher of science.

According to the Washington Post: “Within hours of publication, senior scientists at the Smithsonian Institution -- which has helped fund and run the journal -- lashed out at Sternberg as a shoddy scientist and a closet Bible thumper, (PR Newswire, 2006).

The facts about Dr. Sternberg and the vicious treatment he received at the hands of his evolutionary peers are appalling, but by no means an isolated incident. As noted above, the OSC concluded the Smithsonian created a ‘hostile work environment’ in an effort to oust a biologist they deemed skeptical of Darwinism (PR Newswire, 2006; Crowther, 2006). It is uncommon for views critical of Darwinian Evolution to accepted for publication in peer-reviewed science journals. The evolutionary faithful claim that these papers, written by respected scientists with impeccable credentials, are not worthy of publication. The fact remains that these science journals are controlled predominantly, if not exclusively, by scientists faithful to Darwinian Evolution. Anyone in their ranks that shows the slightest interest in allowing views that oppose the Darwinian paradigm to be heard will be ostracized, denied tenure or find their contracts are not going to be renewed (Expelled, 2008).

That is a sad state of affairs indeed. I completely understand evolutionary science’s refusal to allow the publication of anything critical of their materialistic explanation of the origin and history of life on earth. In fact, if the critics are right, the Theory of Evolution is a faith-based explanation at best and pseudoscience, if its basic tenets are false, at worst. Many people have invested much time, finances, and energy gaining graduate degrees in scientific disciplines that have been inculcated with Darwinian dogma. For them to doubt the validity of Darwin’s theory would call into question the very authenticity of their educational resumes and that would be tantamount to professional suicide.

Miller and Urey to the rescue?

When I was in school, I remember seeing the Miller Urey experiment illustrated in my science textbook. It claimed that Miller and Urey had succeeded in creating the building blocks of life in the laboratory. By the way, this icon of evolution continues to be held up as evidence that life can spontaneously generate itself under certain conditions (Wikipedia, 2012). Without going in to too much detail, even if Miller and Urey could create viable amino acids in vitro, (and they did not, Lycklama, 2012; Sarfati, 2008; Huse, 1997; Peet, 2012), the results would only be evidence of creationism or Intelligent Design. Remember, these are intelligent men creating an atmosphere favorable to a certain chemical reaction. They then introduce other chemicals and subject them to electricity. This is not exactly an undirected and purely naturalistic event.

That is why I was interested to read, with regard to the chemical origin of life, that Kuhn points to the Miller-Urey experiments and correctly observes, “the experimental conditions of a low-oxygen, nitrogen-rich reducing environment has been refuted.” Citing Stephen Meyer's Signature in the Cell he contends, “The fundamental and insurmountable problem with Darwinian evolution lies in the remarkable complexity and inherent information contained within DNA.” Kuhn also explains, “Darwinian evolution and natural selection could not have been causes of the origin of life, because they require replication to operate, and there was no replication prior to the origin of life,” but no other known cause can organize the information in life (Luskin, 2012; Sarfati, 2008).

You might ask, “Why are we looking at the subject of abiogenesis when examining the latest effort by NASA to discover water on Mars?” The answer is simple. Evolutionary scientists and astrobiologists reject the Genesis account of creation as recorded in the Bible. They choose instead to focus their efforts and resources towards validating evolution’s atheistic and illogical worldview of an effect without a correspondingly greater cause, a creation without a Creator. This is done in spite of facts to the contrary. According to the evolutionary worldview, the cosmos is either eternal or it was created at some point in the distant past. This “just so” evolutionary scenario tells us that the basic elements in the universe somehow came into existence, combined and coalesced into stars and stardust. After billions of years, stardust became starfish. If the consequence of rejecting God and His Word were not so detrimental to humankind, individually and collectively, the absurdity of what they are postulating might even be amusing.

Astronomers, astrobiologists, and the majority of scientists today hold fast to this concept of abiogenesis. They play a sophisticated version of the name game when presenting scientifically unsupportable ideas to the public. When Spontaneous Generation was finally disproved, the evolutionary faithful came up with Abiogenesis. This was the term used to describe the Darwinian miracle concerning the origin of life. It seems that this term did not sound scientific enough to evolutionists and, after all, it has the word genesis in it. Therefore, they came up with yet a more scientific sounding word and that word was biopoiesis, (Rowitt, 2011). They do this because they reject the biblical truth, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,” Gen. 1:1. Therefore, the majority of those involved with space exploration believe whole-heartedly that “there’s life in dem der hills,” even if dem der hills are on Mars. More accurately, they believe that somewhere, lurking below the surface and invisible to the naked eye, a microorganism or the fossil remains thereof can be found. They are hoping the Rover named Curiosity is going to discover it.

Listening for aliens failed, so Rovers replace radio telescopes

The Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence (SETI) project has been going strong, albeit through several incarnations, since its inception in 1971. Never mind that tens of billions of dollars of public and private money has been funneled into waiting for ET to make the ultimate long distance phone call. That has not dissuaded these eavesdropping enthusiasts from doing whatever they think might finally prove that we are not alone in the universe. It seems that hope springs eternal in the hearts of evolutionary cosmologists and astrobiologists, or so the evidence suggests.

After six long years of absolute silence, SETI recorded one blip on August 15, 1977. That blip has been dubbed the “Wow! Signal,” and even after years of aiming their radio telescopes right at the coordinates from whence the “Wow! Signal” came; it has never been detected again. What the “Wow! Signal” did accomplish was a new and allegedly improved system of scanning the skies for the signs of life. In 1979, evidently inspired by the never heard again Wow! Signal, the University of California at Berkley jumped on the SETI bandwagon and developed the “Search for Extraterrestrial Radio Emissions from Nearby Developed Intelligent Populations” (SEREN- DIP). In 1986, UC Berkeley initiated their second SETI effort, SERENDIP II, and it has continued with four more SERENDIP efforts to the present day (Rowitt, 2011).

There is a long history of probing our closest neighbors for signs of life. In fact, NASA scientists and others have been combing the cosmos for what astrobiologists call habitable zones (Redd, 2012). You may be wondering, what in the world is an astrobiologist? Well, in a world where the majority of academia is convinced that Darwinian evolution is a scientific fact, there are astronomers who are equally convinced that life must exist somewhere else in the cosmos besides planet earth. In fact, when you mix the “just so” story of abiogenesis with the wishful thinking of evolutionary cosmologists you end up with astrobiologists. Moreover, where were these astrobiologists were first known to congregate? It is no surprise to anyone that NASA was the first to offer validity to this fledgling field of microbial Martian hunters and those in search of extraterrestrial ambassadors (NASA, 2012). Now you can get a graduate certificate from the NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI) at Penn State University (Penn State, 2012), the University of Washington (Washington University, 2012), and the University of Colorado, Boulder (2012).

These astrobiologists are so convinced that inorganic molecules can become organized into complex interacting and interdependent organ systems that they continue to promote what creationists and other critics of Darwinism have characterized as “a fairytale for grownups.” That portrayal has become more accurate with the passing of time as astrobiologists continue searching for these so-called habitable zones in the hope of discovering a “Goldilocks planet” (NASA Science News, 2012).

The long record of roving rovers

Mankind has a long history of sending unmanned rovers into outer space. The Lunokhod 1 rover landed on the Moon in November 1970 (David, 2006). It was the first roving remote-controlled robot to land on any celestial body.  The spacecraft soft-landed in the Sea of Rains region on November 17. The lander had dual ramps from which Lunokhod 1 could descend to the lunar surface, which it did at 06:28 UT. From November 17, 1970 to November 22, 1970, the rover drove 197 m, and during 10 communication sessions returned 14 close up pictures of the Moon and 12 panoramic views. It also analyzed the lunar soil. The last successful communications session with Lunokhod 1 was on September 14, 1971. Having worked for 11 months, Lunokhod 1 held the durability record for space rovers for more than 30 years, until a new record was set by the Mars Exploration Rovers (Wikipedia, 2012).

Not to be outdone by the Soviets, the USA sent its own NASA Lunar Roving Vehicles in three Apollo missions: Apollo 15, which landed on the Moon July 30, 1971, Apollo 16, which landed April 21, 1972, and Apollo 17, which landed December 11, 1972, (NASA, 2009).  The Soviets came back with the Lunokhod 2, the second of their two unmanned lunar rovers.  The rover became operational on the Moon on 16 January 1973 and lasted for four months until an overheated radiator crippled the lunar rover (Zarya, 2012). While the Soviets planned for Lunokhod 3, the launch never materialized.

After the lunar landings and its failure to find evidence of life, NASA turned its attention towards the Red Planet. Enter the Spirit rover. It was operational from 2004-2010. Spirit was followed by its twin, Opportunity that landed on the other side of the planet. The Spirit rover became stuck in late 2009, and its last communication with Earth was sent on March 22, 2010.  Opportunity became immobile in 2009 and in 2010 ceased communications (Wikipedia, 2012). 

Our other closest planetary neighbor is Venus. We already knew from the previous flybys of America’s Mariner 10 that conditions on Venus were not exactly environmentally friendly to organic-based life forms. We got a closer look when the Russians launched their Venera-9 and Venera-10 space probes in June 1975. Once through the clouds, there was no point in spending unnecessary time in the hot atmosphere. At an altitude of 50 kilometers, the parachutes were jettisoned, and the lander fell for 55 minutes, slowed only by the aerobrake. In the thick atmosphere, terminal velocity was 7 meters/sec at touchdown, equivalent to the impact of being dropped from 10 feet. Conditions were 90 atm pressure (the equivalent of swimming 2,700 feet underwater on earth that crushed earlier probes (Opsbaum, 2008) and 455° C (851° F). Venera-10 reached Venus three days later and carried out a similar landing. It found 91 atm of pressure and 464° C (Mitchell, 2004).

The atmosphere on Venus is constituted mainly of carbon dioxide with thick clouds of sulfuric acid completely covering the planet; the whole atmosphere circles the planet in just four Earth days, much faster than the planet's sidereal (movement in relation to stars, e.g. rotation around the sun) day of 243 days. The winds supporting super-rotation blow as fast as 100 m/s (~220 mph or 360 km/h) (Hakan et al., 2007). This is not exactly a candidate for a Goldilocks planet in our home galaxy, the Milky Way. 

Have no fear Curiosity is here

This brings us to our current rover, Curiosity. While the cost of this program has soared to $2.5 billion, it successfully landed on the Martian surface on August 6, 2012. To be sure, it was an enormous engineering feat and the reaction that was evidenced in NASA’s control room was understandably jubilant. According to the mission directors, the rover is currently helping to determine whether Mars could ever have supported life, and search for evidence of past or present life on Mars (NASA Staff, 2011) (Associated Press, 2011).

There continues to be very little evidence that life exists outside of our own planet. Even so, evolutionary scientists will not be dissuaded from their quest. They will continue to use America’s dwindling financial resources and gamble, against the odds, that life can originate apart from divine intervention. This godless worldview is the real driving force that inspires faith in the Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. That is the real reason that NASA and others are “chasing the water” and searching for “habitable zones” wherein they might find a “Goldilocks planet.”

With no new rovers planned until 2013, and the Chinese taking the lead in space exploration away from the USA and Russia, rover Curiosity will have to do. That is until 2013, when the Chinese rover Chang'e 3 is scheduled for launch. Unless the Chandrayaan 2, a joint venture between India and Russia scheduled for 2014, manages to beat them to the punch.

NASA is looking for water in the wrong location

When you understand the real reason that NASA and others continue to “chase the water,” you can recognize that it is not H2O that mankind truly needs. The only water that anyone really needs is the living water that is symbolic of God’s Holy Spirit. God promises to give those who place their faith in the Savior a heart transplant. The Great Physician will remove your wicked and deceitful heart and replace it with a circumcised heart, e.g. a heart that is dedicated to loving God and loving others.

26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.

27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them, Ez. 36:26-27.

The Creator wants to quench your spiritual thirst once and for all. There are many prophetic promises in the Bible, none more poignant and gracious than this invitation offered freely by the Creator to those who are thirsty for the God’s truth:

2 Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the Lord Jehovah is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation.

3 Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation, Isaiah 12:2-3.

Understanding that the Hebrew word for salvation is Yeshua, you can then understand the special wisdom of God concerning the naming His Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth. When you interchange Yeshua in the above noted passage, it makes perfect theological sense. That is a reason that Jesus in Hebrew is the word for Salvation (Yeshua). That is why the angel told his stepfather Joseph concerning his betrothed: And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus [Salvation], for He will save His people from their sins,” Matt. 1:21.

And again, the prophet proclaims in this startling invitation:

1 “Ho! Everyone who thirsts,
Come to the waters;
And you who have no money,
Come, buy and eat.
Yes, come, buy wine and milk
Without money and without price.
2  Why do you spend money for what is not bread,
And your wages for what does not satisfy?
Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good,
And let your soul delight itself in abundance.
3 Incline your ear, and come to Me.
Hear, and your soul shall live;
And I will make an everlasting covenant with you—
The sure mercies of David.
4 Indeed I have given him as a witness to the people,
A leader and commander for the people.
5 Surely you shall call a nation you do not know,
And nations who do not know you shall run to you,
Because of the Lord your God,
And the Holy One of Israel;
For He has glorified you.”

6 Seek the Lord while He may be found,
Call upon Him while He is near.
7 Let the wicked forsake his way,
And the unrighteous man his thoughts;
Let him return to the Lord,
And He will have mercy on him;
And to our God,
For He will abundantly pardon, Isaiah 55:1-7.

When you choose to place your faith in your Creator, you will no longer be searching for answers in the physical realm that can only be found in realm of the Spirit. Chasing physical water in search of the building blocks of life is an exercise in futility once you understand that the giver of life is your Creator and your Savior, Jesus of Nazareth. As Jesus told the Samaritan woman at the well: “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’ you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water,” John 7:10.

It would be nice if this latest in the rover series would live up to its name, Curiosity. If     NASA’s curiosity extended beyond the search for natural water to the One who created the universe and offers His righteousness, forgiveness and love freely as a gift of His grace, they too would ask Him and He would quench their spiritual thirst forever: 

37 On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. 38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water. 39 But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing  in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified, John 7:37-39.

Dig Deeper: Recommended Resources
Alien Abductions DVD
Starlight, Time
Created Cosmos
Taking Back Astronomy


Associated
Press (2011).  NASA Launches Super-Size Rover to Mars: 'Go, Go! New York Times-Science. Accessed on 8.9.12.   

Crowther, R. (2006). Smithsonian Scientist Was Demoted for Views Critical of Darwinian Evolution. Evolutionary News & Views. December 15, 2006. Accessed 8.9.12.

David, L. (2006). Lunar Lost and Found: The Search for Old Spacecraft. Space dot com. Accessed 8.9.12.

Expelled (2008). Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. This documentary that chronicles the tactics employed by atheistic scientists to stifle any criticism of the Theory of Evolution.

Hakan, S., Titov, D.V., Taylor, F.V., Oliver, W. (2007). Venus as a more Earth-like planet. Nature 450 (7170): 629–632. Accessed 8.10.12.

Huse, S. (1997). The Collapse of Evolution 3rd Edition. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books. pp.
152-56.

Klinghoffer, D. (2005). The Branding of a Heretic, The Wall Street Journal, January 28, 2005. Accessed 8.9.12.

Kuhn, J.A. (2012). Dissecting Darwinism. Baylor University Medical Center Proceedings, Vol. 25(1): 41-47. 

Luskin, C. (2012). Peer-Reviewed Paper in Medical Journal Challenges Evolutionary Science and Inaccurate Evolution-Education.  Accessed 8.9.12.

Luskin, C. (2012). Ibid.

Lycklama, H. (2012). Icons of Evolution -PPP. Accessed 8/13/12.

Mitchell, D. (2004). The First Pictures of the Surface of Venus. Accessed 8.9.12.

NASA (2012). Astrobiology: Life in the Universe. Accessed 8.13.12.

NASA (2009). Experiment: Lunar Rover Vehicle. Ares.jsc.nasa.gov. Accessed 8.9.12.

NASA (2011). Mars Science laboratory. Accessed 8.9.12.

NASA Science News (2012). Getting to know the Goldilocks Planet. Accessed 8.13.12.

Opsbaum, R. (2008). Introduction to Physics: Physics 185. Chapter 5 Highlights. Definition of a
planet. Back Hills State University. Accessed 8.14.12.

Peet, J.H. (2012). The Miller Urey Experiment. Truth in Science. Accessed 8.13.12.

Penn State (2012). This degree program through participating programs earn a degree with a dual title in the Ph.D., i.e., Ph.D. in (graduate program name) and Astrobiology. Accessed 8.13.12.

PR Newswire ( 2006 ). Office of Special Counsel Concludes Smithsonian Created a 'Hostile Work Environment' in Effort to Oust Biologist Skeptical of Darwinism. Newswire from the Discovery Institute. Accessed 8.9.12.

PR Newswire ( 2006 ). Ibid.

Redd, N.T. (2012). Odds of Finding Life Boosted by Billions of Habitable Worlds. Accessed
8.9.12.

Rowitt, S. (2011). NASA’s Big Announcement: Much ado about, nothing much. Accessed
8.9.12.

Rowitt, S. (2012). What Came First, the Chicken or the Egg? The name game continues where
Spontaneous Generation (thoroughly discredited) becomes Abiogenesis or biopoiesis. E.T. created life or “In the beginning Yoda…” becomes Directed Panspermia. The Hopeful Monster Theory (a reptile lays an egg, out comes a mammal) becomes Saltationism.

Sarfati, J. (2008). By Design. Australia: Creation Ministries International. pp. 170-180.

Sarfati, J. (2008). Ibid. pp. 180-187.

Song Facts (2012). Fire by Jimi Hendrix. Accessed 8.9.12.

University of Colorado (2012). The Center for Astrobiology at the University of Colorado. Accessed 8.13.12.

University of Washington (2012). Welcome to Astrobiology at the University of Washington. Similar to Penn State’s program, U of W offers graduate certificates in Astrobiology to Ph.D. students who fulfill certain requirements. Accessed 8.13.12.

Wikipedia (2012). Abiogenesis. Accessed 8.13.12.

Wikipedia (2012). Ibid. The Miller Urey experiment is still being used to support the “just so” story of abiogenesis.

Wikipedia (2012). Rover (space exploration. Accessed 8.9.12.

Wikipedia
(2012). Ibid.

Zaryra (2012). Luna- Exploring the Moon. Zarya- Soviet, Russia and International Space Flight. Accessed 8.9.12.