There is a widespread sentiment that panspermia is uninteresting is because it does not answer fundamental questions about the origin of life. The strongest version of panspermia asks entirely new questions. While barriers to the acceptance of panspermia are falling and evidence supporting it is accumulating, the mere possibility of panspermia unhinges the Darwinian account of evolutionary progress. The new theory removes an issue dividing science and religion, but it requires an amendment to the big bang theory.© (2001) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.