Our Cosmic Ancestry in the Stars: The Deepest Questions
Ancient-origins.net - Tue 13 Aug 12:37 GMT

Where have we come from? Where are we going? What are we here for? Is life unique to this rocky planet we call Earth?

  So the humbling realization is that we humans, and indeed all other life on Earth, are utterly unimportant in the wider cosmic context.

  Searching For Life in the Cosmos One of the most exciting areas of modern astronomy is the search for planets orbiting distant stars—planets that are habitable and more or less similar to Earth.

  A vision of Proxima Centauri b. (Kevin Gill/ CC BY 2.0 ) Telescopes looking at sky Evidence for the most ancient bacterial life on Earth has recently been discovered in the form of carbon globules trapped within crystals of the mineral zircon and deposited in rocks that formed 4.1 to 4.2 billion years ago during the so-called Hadean epoch.

  One dramatic event 540 million years ago, the Cambrian explosion of multicelled life, is now known to have brought essentially all the genes that were needed to generate the entire range of evolutionary development witnessed in the record of life on Earth.

  (BillionPhotos.com /Adobe Stock) We now know that impacts of asteroids and comets on planets laden with life can not only cause extinctions of species (e.g., the extinction of the dinosaurs on Earth sixty-five million years ago) but can also splash back into space life-laden material (dust and meteorites) that can reach neighboring planets.

  The clear implication is that they came from outside Earth—external to terrestrial biology, part of the cosmic heritage of life.

  ( Public Domain ) The clear implication of the ideas we discussed is that the essential blueprint for all life, the information for every gene in every life-form that could ever arise, is always present in the form of viruses and viral genes and distributed over a vast cos