Before you get excited about the title, we want to remind you that there are many arguments that this statement is wrong. But for the sake of scientific speculation, let’s put aside any disbelief and take the 2018 book Habitability of the Universe Before Earth by Alexei Sharov and Richard Gordon at face value.
The bottom line is that if Moore’s Law is applied to the demonstrated exponential growth in genetic complexity over time, then life as we know it formed about ten billion years ago. Why is it important? Because the modern age of the Earth is estimated at only 4.5 billion years.
This suggests all sorts of intriguing possibilities. First, in this scenario, the variant of panspermia is an inevitable conclusion. Life did not originate on Earth.
Panspermia is the hypothesis that life on Earth originated from life forms present in outer space, which were delivered to Earth by meteoroids, asteroids, or comets.
Of course, this is not a new idea, but now science fiction as a genre has some numbers to work with. In addition, we have the possibility that in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, we, as a civilization, are not retarded children in a galaxy teeming with much more advanced races.
We ourselves may well be the most advanced intelligent race.
Consider this: We have always believed that it takes at least 4.5 billion years for an intelligent civilization to develop. Now there is evidence that it could take up to 10 billion years.
Of course, we omit many factors, such as crushing asteroid impacts and other mass extinctions, that can disrupt the timeline of development, but we do not consider such a physical history. We are looking at a steady increase in the complexity of the genetic material.
It is assumed that it somehow persists during these catastrophes and continues to develop further. After all, it somehow migrated through interstellar space through unspeakable and unimaginable cataclysms – perhaps the destruction and reshaping of star systems – put down roots on this little blue sphere of ours called Earth.
This, the theory argues, explains the Fermi paradox: we don’t hear about any other intelligent species because they are either close or behind us in terms of development.
That is why we are not invaded by goggle-eyed monsters, or gray space aliens from hives, or multi-leaved pachyderms from Alpha Centauri. For that matter, we are more likely to be the invaders, like in James Cameron’s Avatar.
But behind all this, there are really interesting questions:
– Where did life originally originate about 10 billion years ago?
– Was it localized, for example, on a star that existed and then died, and the material reformed into our current star and complement of planets?
– Has it spread throughout our Galaxy and penetrated into space, seeding all other favorable environments, such as the Earth?
– Are there other alien forms of DNA-like substances that formed at other times and in other conditions, and which are seeding other parts of the galaxy?
This premise leads to endless speculation — which is the fuel for good science fiction — but, more importantly, it provides a more reliable starting point because, despite the inconclusive evidence, it really is the best we have at the moment.
It also gives us something to test. Now, if we finally find convincing examples of life beyond our planet, we can test whether it matches the Earth model.
The idea of life existing on other planets with different DNA than what we have on Earth is an intriguing one. While it remains unknown whether or not there is alien life on other planets, we can speculate on what such life might look like.
One possibility is that the alien life on other planets could be much like Earth life, but with a different DNA structure. For example, alien life could have adapted to the different environmental factors on their planet and evolved to have different physical characteristics.
For instance, the alien life could have adapted to their harsher environment by having thicker skin or tougher bones. Alternatively, the alien life could have evolved to be much smaller or much larger than what is found on Earth.
In addition to physical characteristics, alien life may also have a different molecular makeup. For instance, the alien life could use a different form of energy or metabolize food in a different way. These differences could lead to alien life having different behavior patterns or communication methods.
Despite the fact that we do not know what alien life on other planets looks like, it is possible to imagine what it might be like. It is also possible to hypothesize what environmental conditions and evolutionary processes may have led to the development of such alien life. Such speculation can be a fascinating way to explore the possibilities of what life beyond Earth might look like.
So life originated long before Earth? Yes, it is possible. This is because the conditions necessary for life could have existed on other planets, and life could have evolved in these environments long before the Earth was formed.
Additionally, the theory of panspermia suggests that life could have been delivered to Earth from other parts of the universe, allowing for life to exist on Earth even if it originated elsewhere.