The cosmic story that unfolded following the Big Bang is ubiquitous no matter where you are. The formation of atomic nuclei, atoms, stars, galaxies, planets, complex molecules, and eventually life is a part of the shared history of everyone and everything in the Universe. As we understand it today, life on our world began, at the latest, only a few hundred million years after Earth was formed.
That puts life as we know it already nearly 10 billion years after the Big Bang. The Universe couldn’t have formed life from the very first moments; both the conditions and the ingredients were all wrong. But that doesn’t mean it took all those billions and billions of years of cosmic evolution to make life possible. It could have begun when the Universe was just a few percent of its current age. Here’s when life might have first arisen in our Universe.