Here's an excerpt from The Cone of My Incompetence:
Imagine you’re standing outside at night, under the stars, observing a distant planet through a telescope. As you gaze out, you admire the planet, even as you assume it’s simply made of inert matter—rocks and dust and debris.
Imagine your shock, then, as you notice odd and spontaneous activity on the planet. A small chunk of the planet’s surface suddenly breaks free and begins to rise upward. It travels faster and faster, away from the planet, until it escapes the planet’s gravity entirely and flies around of its own accord, even circling a nearby moon.
What sort of matter can defy gravity in this way? And what sort of planet—composed of mere dirt and rocks—could spawn such mystical matter that can travel against the combined forces of wind and gravity?
Now imagine you are standing on Mars. Through your telescope you observe Earth on the day a rocket is launched into outer space. What kind of matter is found on Earth that can design and launch rockets that travel into orbit, circle the moon, and return to Earth in one piece?
The answer is life.