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Many articles have proclaimed that this latest ‘discovery’ would, if confirmed, disprove traditional Christianity.

They argued that life on Mars would show that matter has an inbuilt tendency to form life.

Thus, a Creator is unnecessary, and the Earth and humanity are nothing special.

However, the professing evangelical President of the USA, Bill Clinton, was very enthusiastic, saying, ‘If this discovery is confirmed, it would surely be one of the most stunning insights into our universe that science has discovered.’ No-one has found life on Mars; the announcement concerns a potato-sized rock on Earth (from Antarctica).

The news has been great publicity for NASA, just when the US Congress was discussing funding cuts.

The timing of the announcement was brilliant, coinciding with the release of the blockbuster movie , about an extraterrestrial invasion of Earth.

The possibility of life on Mars has fascinated many, including the wealthy American astronomer Percival Lowell, who erroneously thought he had discovered hundreds of canals by 1908.

But when the Viking spacecraft visited Mars in 1976, no trace of life was found, despite sophisticated detection techniques.

This rock, thought to be a meteorite, contains tiny globules which superficially resemble bacteria in shape, and certain chemicals which supposedly came from once-living organisms.