Not, it seems, from fresh evidence but from fresh frustration, according to this National Geographic News article:
A long-debated and often-dismissed theory known as “panspermia” got new life in the past week, as two scientists separately proposed that early Earth lacked some chemicals essential to forming life, while early Mars likely had them.
“Basically, we went looking on Mars because the origins-of-life options on Earth just aren’t looking very good,” Benner said.
(We have covered Benner’s hypothesis that the elements boron and molybdenum from Mars were key player here. )
The reemergence of the theory of panspermia is intertwined with progress (or lack of progress) in a long-term scientific quest to find out how life began on Earth, a question that synthetic biology experts such as Benner have been working on for decades. Despite some advances, the field has come up against chemical walls that are proving impossible to climb.
Well, the problem is that the fact that origin of life is considered impossible on Earth doesn’t add to the possibility that it arose on Mars. Some faint suggestions that a Mars origin have been advanced, but Benner adds,
“A panspermia solution, after all, produces another panspermia problem,” he said. “If a Martian microbe did make it from Mars to Earth, maybe it would be as if it landed in Eden. But just as likely, it would quickly die.”
Now that he mentions it, there is little reason to expect life from Mars to just accidentally take root in a quite different atmosphere unless design can be factored in. That is why atheists such as Fred Hoyle and Francis Crick toyed with the idea that intelligent aliens were involved. They understood the problems better than their detractors.
Here’s Steve Benner arguing for Mars:
See also: Extremely hardy animal, the water bear, proposed for testing on Mars mission.
Hat tip: Dennis Jones, Intelligent Design Facebook page