Journalist Bill Mesler, who has co-written a book about the scientific explorations of the origin of life, recently described some theories including the increasing popularity of one called panspermia where organic matter can get transferred through space and take hold elsewhere, like on Earth. Could life on Earth have begun somewhere else first, like Mars? In a recent article on NPR, journalist Bill Mesler, who recently co-wrote a book on the topic, explains the increasing popularity of a theory called panspermia which hypothesizes that life can travel in space and possibly become the seeds to new organisms on another planet. One scientist likens this to an infectious outbreak of microbial organisms. In terms of how organic matter would be transmitted, cosmic dust has been shown to contain such particles; as well, other researchers believe they could be distributed on chunks of planetary debris like meteorites. Regardless of the delivery method, Mesler writes that “scientists have come to accept the idea that some early stages of the long, complex beginning of life took place outside the Earth.” He acknowledges that the biggest challenge has been determining how these basic materials actually made the leap into developing into life forms. However, he notes that one prominent chemist believes that organics can be turned into basic RNA compounds through the presence of borate, molybdate, and oxygen--all of which Mars could have had while Earth was more inhospitable.