News Origin Of Life

Early universe warmed up later than needed for “Big Bang-era” life?

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This picture was created from images forming part of the Digitized Sky Survey 2. It shows the rich region of sky around the young open star cluster NGC 2547 in the southern constellation of Vela (The Sail). Credit:  ESO/Digitized Sky Survey 2. Acknowledgement: Davide De Martin
large young star cluster/ESA, Davide De Martin

Recently, we’ve been looking at a theory regarding the origin of life that would put it back near the Big Bang (only 15m years later)—on the assumption that the universe may well have been warm and solid enough.

This finding via Phys.org doesn’t support that view:

A new study from Tel Aviv University reveals that black holes, formed from the first stars in our universe, heated the gas throughout space later than previously thought. They also imprinted a clear signature in radio waves which astronomers can now search for. The work is a major new finding about the origins of the universe.

“It was previously believed that the heating occurred very early,” says Prof. Barkana, “but we discovered that this standard picture delicately depends on the precise energy with which the X-rays come out. Taking into account up-to-date observations of nearby black-hole binaries changes the expectations for the history of cosmic heating. It results in a new prediction of an early time (when the universe was only 400 million years old) at which the sky was uniformly filled with radio waves emitted by the hydrogen gas.”

From Universe Today:

“It was previously believed that the heating occurred very early, but we discovered that this standard picture delicately depends on the precise energy with which the X-rays come out,” stated Rennan Barkana, a co-author of the paper who is an astronomer at Tel Aviv University.

Abstract (paper paywalled).

And the beat goes on. (The irreducible complexity of life drives researchers to try to backdate its origin, to allow enough time for chance events to succeed. But there may be a brick wall back there.)

See also: Paper dates origin of life at 9.7 billion years ago

Is there a good reason to believe that life’s origin must be a fully natural event?

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