LIFE BEYOND: Chapter 1. Alien life, deep time, and our place in cosmic history (4K)


In all of time on all the planets of all the galaxies in space what civilizations have risen, looked into the night seen what we see asked the questions that we ask? What we see around us is staggering complexity How is it possible? Living organisms are created by chemistry We are huge packages of chemicals And what are the ideal conditions for chemistry? Well, first, you need energy. But not too much. What you want is just the right amount and planets it turns out are just right because they are close to stars, but not too close You also need a great diversity of chemical elements. And you need liquid, such as water. Why? Well, is gases, atoms move past each other so fast that they can’t hitch up. In solids, atoms are stuck together they can’t move. In liquids, they can cruise and cuddle and link up to form molecules. liquid water is just so good for getting evolution going molecules can dissolve in the water, form more complex chains Now, where do you find such Goldilocks conditions? Well, planets are great and our early Earth was almost perfect It was just the right distance from its star to contain huge oceans of liquid water. And deep beneath those oceans, at cracks in the Earth’s crust, fantastic chemistry began to happen and atoms combined in all sorts of exotic combinations. here, on our planet, microbes have adapted to survive the most hostile conditions. Arid deserts, the frozen Himalayas in trenches under thousands of tons of pressure in the ocean deeps. In the vacuum of a space simulator life forms have been flourishing for years without oxygen. Very very quickly, as soon as the Earth cooled off, after its formation, we know that life began here. Because it happened quickly here on Earth we think it’s going to happen quickly on other planets as well. We know that the galaxy is awash in water, it’s awash in organic molecules, and complex chemistry. All of the things that we know were necessary for life to begin on this planet exist in abundance throughout the galaxy. Did something similar to what happened on our own planet happen on those other planets? There are more habitable Earth-mass planets in the observable volume of the universe than there are grains of sand on all the beaches on Earth. The discovery of just one bacteria on Mars, or any other body of the solar system, would indicate that the whole chain of evolutions cosmic, chemical, and biological is at work everywhere. In that case, the creation of life anywhere in the universe would be more the rule than the exception. Within all of our lifetimes we’re going to understand that there is life on other bodies in the solar system. We’re going to understand the implications of that for evolution of life here on Earth. We’re going to find planets around other stars that we can say we see potential signs of habitability in their atmospheres. That’s all going to happen in the next 10 to 20 years How exciting is that? We’re on the verge of things that people have wondered about for millennia: “Are we alone?” And here we are on the verge of finding that out. The Universe is nearly 14 billion years old, and our Galaxy is something like 12 billion years old. So there could be life out there that could be dramatically more advanced than the life that we have here on this planet. The only elements that were created in the Big Bang where hydrogen, helium and a little bit of lithium. All the stuff that makes your life livable – those elements weren’t created in the Big Bang. The only place they’re created is in the fiery core of a star and the only way for them to get into your body is if those stars were kind enough to explode. Subtitles by the Amara.org community

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