A schematic of the history of the cosmos since the Big Bang identifies the period when planets began to form, but there’s no indication of when life might have started. Harvard’s Avi Loeb wants to add life into this cosmological map, and foresees much more of it in the future, given certain conditions. ( NASA)
The study of the formation and logic of the universe (cosmology) and the study of exoplanets and their conduciveness to life do not seem intersect much. Scientists in one field focus on the deep physics of the cosmos while the others search for the billions upon billions of planets out there and seek to unlock their secrets.
But astrophysicist and cosmologist Avi Loeb — a prolific writer about the early universe from his position at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics– sees the two fields of study as inherently connected, and has set out to be a bridge between them. The result was a recent theoretical paper that sought to place the rise of life on Earth (and perhaps elsewhere) in cosmological terms.
His conclusion: The Earth may well be a very early example of a living biosphere, having blossomed well before life might be expected ...