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Evolution of Life-Supporting Elements

  1. Jul 8, 2015 #1
    Looking for research answering the following question: "What is the earliest point in time, in the Universe, that exoplanets comprised of life-sustaining elements such as carbon, water, etc. could have formed?"

    I've read that the earliest known stars likely formed about 500 million years after the big bang, trying to ascertain the earliest point that those stars could have yielded more complex elements to create planets.

    Thanks
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 8, 2015 #2

    e.bar.goum

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    This paper from Lineweaver & Chopra http://www.mso.anu.edu.au/~charley/papers/LineweaverChopra2012.pdf
    cites 4 billion years after the big bang as a lower-limit for "sufficient time for biological evolution", and 2-3 billion years after the big bang for terrestrial planets to form. Those numbers are clearly "ballpark" numbers, but that might give you an idea. The review is a fairly interesting and easy read, if you're interested in this subject. Have a look at the references for more substantial work.
     
  4. Jul 8, 2015 #3
    This is exactly what I needed, thank you.
     
  5. Jul 9, 2015 #4

    marcus

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    But see http://arxiv.org/abs/1312.0613
    Abraham Loeb of Harvard is a prominent cosmologist.
    "What is the earliest point in time, in the Universe, that exoplanets comprised of life-sustaining elements such as carbon, water, etc. could have formed?"

    He puts the existence of rocky planets with elements like C, N, O, Ca, Si, etc. much earlier than 2 billion years after start of expansion.
     
  6. Jul 9, 2015 #5

    e.bar.goum

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    That's a super interesting paper.

    But I don't know if I agree with his conclusions in regards to life. A couple of million years (between the beginning of the habitable era and the end) isn't really long enough for life to appear. Further, I'm not sure the anthropic principles comments make much sense - even if single celled life might have occurred 12 million years after the BB, that doesn't mean much about observations made by complex life.
     
  7. Jul 10, 2015 #6
    Isn't the bigger issue supernovae sterilizing everything prior to ~4by from the BB?
     
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