To build a planet you need lots of rubble and that means lots of heavy elements – stuff more massive than atoms of hydrogen and helium. The elemental composition of the collapsing nebula that gave birth to the Sun and the planets of the Solar System included things like iron, silicon and magnesium that form the bulk of rocky planets, and carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, potassium and other such elements that are essential for life.
Earth was born out of the debris of a protoplanetary disc around a nascent Sun 4.54 billion years ago – a serious chunk of time in anybody’s book. Yet the Universe is 13.7 billion years old – the Solar System has been around for just the last third of cosmic history.
Regardless, one thing is becoming clear: that sufficient raw materials for building terrestrial planets were available very soon after the Big Bang, raising the possibility that there could be life in the Universe far older than we. Perhaps they reside around long-lived red dwarf stars, or have moved on from their home system after their star expired. Or, perhaps, we really are the first, which means that if life has happened just once throughout the entire history of the Universe, our existence must be a fluke and our planet very, very special indeed.
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This is a pretty long - but very interesting, article. A few things are worthy of comment. BUt first, here's a Urantia Book perspective on planet-building (and solar system building), please see "Origin of Monmatia - The Urantia Solar System"
But this last paragraph also struck me. We've all heard about the Big Bang theory. I wonder if this following passage from The Urantia Book might clarify what our scientists are finding about this primeval eruption of creation. In any event, the dates seem to match pretty well as far as the age of the universe goes. However, in The Urantia Book, this big bang took several billion years to complete...:
57:4.5 10,000,000,000 years ago the quartan cycle of Andronover began. The maximum of nuclear-mass temperature had been attained; the critical point of condensation was approaching. The original mother nucleus was convulsing under the combined pressure of its own internal-heat condensation tension and the increasing gravity-tidal pull of the surrounding swarm of liberated sun systems. The nuclear eruptions which were to inaugurate the second nebular sun cycle were imminent. The quartan cycle of nebular existence was about to begin.
8,000,000,000 years ago the terrific terminal eruption began. Only the outer systems are safe at the time of such a cosmic upheaval. And this was the beginning of the end of the nebula. This final sun disgorgement extended over a period of almost two billion years.
7,000,000,000 years ago witnessed the height of the Andronover terminal breakup. This was the period of the birth of the larger terminal suns and the apex of the local physical disturbances.
6,000,000,000 years ago marks the end of the terminal breakup and the birth of your sun, the fifty-sixth from the last of the Andronover second solar family. This final eruption of the nebular nucleus gave birth to 136,702 suns, most of them solitary orbs. The total number of suns and sun systems having origin in the Andronover nebula was 1,013,628. The number of the solar system sun is 1,013,572.
And now the great Andronover nebula is no more, but it lives on in the many suns and their planetary families which originated in this mother cloud of space. The final nuclear remnant of this magnificent nebula still burns with a reddish glow and continues to give forth moderate light and heat to its remnant planetary family of one hundred and sixty-five worlds, which now revolve about this venerable mother of two mighty generations of the monarchs of light.