Life is older than we are

Life is much older than the Earth, older than the solar system, probably older than the Milky Way galaxy.  We are only the latest upstarts in a universe that has been sewn-through with life for more billions of years than the Earth has been in existence.

In the Amazon jungle, there remain a few dozen tribes, the “uncontacted peoples” living pre-agricultural lifestyles, knowing of technological civilization only because of planes that fly overhead, or nomads who carry rumors from far-off villages.  We Earthlings are like them, a planet that is watched but left undisturbed by the Galactic Federation.

It’s not for lack of trying that biochemists have been unable to create a plausible account of life’s origins on Earth.  The probabilities don’t add up.  Even the simplest self-reproducing systems are far more complex than anything that could have assembled itself by chance.  It’s fair to conclude that the first living cells did not originate on Earth, but arrived from elsewhere, either carried on a meteor, or in cosmic dust particles, or planted here as seeds by an advanced civilization.  Francis Crick is the most esteemed of many people who have advocated this idea.

Remarkably, life on Earth is as old as the Earth.  The universe is three times older than our Earth.  There was time before Earth for many, many planets teeming with life, for unimaginably advanced civilizations to come and go and reappear and flourish, to expand and to perish long before the first life on Earth.  An awakening awaits us, more fantastic than those uncontacted peoples who will soon bump against civilization.

you_are_here_galaxy

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