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Are We Alone? SETI Institute Science Radio: 19 July Edition: When Life Began

Status Report From: SETI Institute
Posted: Thursday, July 13, 2006

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Are We Alone? SETI Institute Science Radio

Hosted by Dr. Seth Shostak

July 19, 2006 (available for download July 20, 2006) When Life Began

When the Earth formed 4.6 billion years ago, it was a red-hot molten sphere and persistently pulverized by meteors. In other words, not the sort of place you'd want to raise kids. In fact, Earth was hostile to life for almost a thousand million years after its formation. Then, life appeared. How did living organisms arise from a barren planet?

Some clues may be found in the recent discovery of convincing evidence of bacterial colonies that lived nearly 3.5 billion years ago. Odd-shaped bumps and lumps of rock from the northwest corner of Australia turn out to tell an old and exciting tale, suggesting that earthly life began just about as quickly as it could. If biology got started so soon on our planet, perhaps that's a hint that life may erupt on many other worlds as well…

Guests:

  • Abby Allwood, geologist at the Australian Centre for Astrobiology, Maquarie University
  • Jack Farmer, geologist at Arizona State University
  • Malcolm Walter, Director of the Australian Centre for Astrobiology, Maquarie University

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