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Early 'habitable epoch' universe proposed


Posted on Sunday, 2 March, 2014 | Comment icon 19 comments

Was the universe once one giant habitable zone ? Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
One Harvard astronomer believes that we may have fundamentally misunderstood our place in the universe.
As astronomers identify more and more worlds orbiting distant stars, the habitability of those worlds is becoming an increasingly hot topic. Most extrasolar planets are turning out to be either too near or too far from their parent star to support life with only a handful being located in the habitable zone where liquid water can exist.

But is this the way things have always been ? In a recent astrobiology paper, Harvard astronomer Avi Loeb has put forward the idea that around 10 to 20 million years after the Big Bang the universe was warm enough thanks to the Cosmic Background Radiation that the entire cosmos would have been a viable habitable zone.

Dubbed 'the habitable epoch', this early period could have seen the universe teeming with primitive life forms.

"For a long time, we’ve had this preconception that life is here on Earth, but the universe is dead," said Loeb. "But maybe we should be thinking of this as a living universe. We may be relative latecomers to the game."

   
Source: Slate.com | Comments (19)

Tags: Universe, Life


 
Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #10 Posted by Hawkin on 3 March, 2014, 5:11
Looks Good On Paper.
Comment icon #11 Posted by coolguy on 3 March, 2014, 6:07
There is other life out there no dout a bout it. We are not the only life forms
Comment icon #12 Posted by taniwha on 3 March, 2014, 8:47
I think this habitable epoch theory echoes the gestation and incubation periods within ancestral geneaology chants, other wise known as creation myths. Science can define by any other model the genesis of life, but the concept of a universal mother is no further from the truth. It is humbling to acknowledge our ancestors and their ancient wisdom.
Comment icon #13 Posted by Leonardo on 3 March, 2014, 14:44
Which is quite irrelevant to the fact that most, if not all, the elements necessary for life to arise were not present at that epoch. The hypothesis proposed in the OP does constitute a belief that life does not require those elements - which is not within our current understanding.
Comment icon #14 Posted by spacecowboy342 on 3 March, 2014, 17:34
Yeah but breathing oxygen was what allowed complex intelligent life to come about
Comment icon #15 Posted by Einsteinium on 3 March, 2014, 18:17
I don't believe this. Why? Because there were hardly any heavy elements during this early stage of the universe. The heavy elements were all created by successive generations of stars. Which means there would only be gas giants and massive stars back this early, no rocky planets, barely any carbon let alone heavier elements than that. How can life evolve and exist, even primitive life, without heavy elements? All life as we know it needs carbon. Never-mind oxygen and nitrogen which are heavier still than carbon.
Comment icon #16 Posted by regeneratia on 4 March, 2014, 20:00
But if we are doubling our scientific knowledge base every three to five years, maybe in less time than that, just how truthful is our thoughts on what life is? How caught off guard will the scientists be if they find life without our perhaps immature standards of what life is? We have bacteria that exist in places that we never thought could survive at those temps. So we had to rearrange just what bacteria can and cannot withstand. If the objective is to look for another place, another planet, for humans to litter and taint, then of course, their standards should be accepted. Amazing... [More]
Comment icon #17 Posted by spacecowboy342 on 4 March, 2014, 20:14
We aren't doubling our scientific knowledge every 5 years. The laws of nature remain how they have always been. We don't reinvent the wheel every time new science is discovered but new discoveries build on old knowledge. We have a pretty good idea how chemistry works
Comment icon #18 Posted by spud the mackem on 4 March, 2014, 20:45
Perhaps species are/have evolved breathing other gases than Oxygen.We breathe all kinds of gases and live,especially in big cities during "rush" hour.They might thrive on what would kill us.
Comment icon #19 Posted by spacecowboy342 on 4 March, 2014, 21:05
There are reasons hydrocarbons and oxygen work for this while other things don't


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