Posted: 07 May 2012 04:14 AM PDT
Since the planets and the life are so new in our Universe, says Dimitar Sasselov from Harvard in his book The Life of the Super-Earths, perhaps, “the human race did not take long to come to the fore. We may be among the first advanced civilizations.”
According to Sasselov's study, the history of the Universe looks like this: several generations of stars about 13 billion years ago produced enough oxygen, carbon, iron, silicon and other elements, until it became possible to form planets.
Only about nine billion years ago appeared the galaxies with stable environments possible to have planets, while the terrestrial planets and the super-Earths – about 7 to 8 billion years ago. So, Life had to wait until then to begin to appear throughout the Universe. Between 7 and 9 billion years ago there were enough heavy elements available to participate in the complex chemistry necessary for the emergence of life, and terrestrial planets with stable environments required for the concentration of chemical compounds were formed.
Maybe planets are just a small fraction of the Universe due to their small size, but since there are so many of them the possibility of life increases dramatically. The Universe is now passing through the period of maximum rate of star formation, but it seems that it has not yet peaked in the formation of planets.
From calculations there are 200 billion stars in our galaxy and 90% are of age and size suitable for having planetary systems. Only 10% of these stars have enough heavy elements to form rocky planets, 2% of which orbit within the habitable zone of their star.
So, if another planet in our Galaxy (and billions of galaxies out there) is just one million years older than the Earth, how much more advanced technology will it have? As Arthur Clarke wrote, any advanced alien technology should be distinguished from magic.
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