How easy is it for life to start

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How easy is it for life to start

This is a transcript of a QuickTime movie (7.0 MB) recorded in the Pilbara in 2005. Adrian Brown, from the Australian Centre for Astrobiology, talks about how easy it is for life to get started.


One of the questions of astrobiology is how easy is it for life to actually start, how easy is it for life to take hold on a planet and then how easy is it to dislodge that life. Looking at our moon we’re able to see that the moon and probably the earth went through a great bombardment of meteorites early in their creation and that were involved in the creation of the Solar System. So if life had have evolved in the period during that great bombardment of meteorites we'd say that life was pretty hardy, pretty much that life was destined to happen in the universe. Many have used that phrase, although it is not one that's very scientific. If life had have evolved perhaps around 3.5 billion years, maybe 400 million years after the great bombardment had finished, and we'd started to see things like oceans and mountains starting to form, and crusts, continents starting to form then we’d say well life may have evolved fairly quickly on the earth. But if life wasn’t around at 3.5 billion years ago with the rocks in the Pilbara, just when did it begin? We can work backwards, we know that we have life and we have it in abundance right now, but going backwards in the rock record in the history of our earth where exactly did life begin? And that question is crucial when we come to assess whereabouts life might have taken hold in our Solar System and throughout the Universe. If it had have been a quick process here on earth we have every reason to believe that life might exist wherever it can anywhere else in the Universe and that could be on another planet somewhere in another Solar System, but it could also be on some the planets, some of the moons around our Solar System and around our Sun.




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