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New study suggests that Gamma Ray Bursts may offer an explanation for Fermi's Paradox


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  • Location: Ireland, probably South Tipperary
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  • Location: Ireland, probably South Tipperary

    A new study confirms the potential hazard of nearby gamma-ray bursts (GRBs), and quantifies the probability of an event on Earth and more generally in the Milky Way and other galaxies. The authors find a 50% chance that a nearby GRB powerful enough to cause a major life extinction on the planet took place during the past 500 million years (Myr). They further estimate that GRBs prevent complex life like that on Earth in 90% of the galaxies...

    ...The Milky Way would therefore be among only 10% of all galaxies in the universe – the larger ones – that can sustain complex life in the long-term. The two theoretical astrophysicists also claim that GRBs prevent evolved life as it exists on Earth in almost every galaxy that formed earlier than about five-thousand-million years after the Big Bang (at a redshift z > 0.5). Despite obvious, necessary approximations in the analysis, these results show the severe limitations set by GRBs on the location and cosmic epoch when complex life like that on Earth could arise and evolve across thousands of millions of years. This could help explain Enrico Fermi’s paradox on the absence of evidence for an extraterrestrial civilization.

    http://cerncourier.com/cws/article/cern/59937

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    A new study confirms the potential hazard of nearby gamma-ray bursts (GRBs), and quantifies the probability of an event on Earth and more generally in the Milky Way and other galaxies. The authors find a 50% chance that a nearby GRB powerful enough to cause a major life extinction on the planet took place during the past 500 million years (Myr). They further estimate that GRBs prevent complex life like that on Earth in 90% of the galaxies...

    ...The Milky Way would therefore be among only 10% of all galaxies in the universe – the larger ones – that can sustain complex life in the long-term. The two theoretical astrophysicists also claim that GRBs prevent evolved life as it exists on Earth in almost every galaxy that formed earlier than about five-thousand-million years after the Big Bang (at a redshift z > 0.5). Despite obvious, necessary approximations in the analysis, these results show the severe limitations set by GRBs on the location and cosmic epoch when complex life like that on Earth could arise and evolve across thousands of millions of years. This could help explain Enrico Fermi’s paradox on the absence of evidence for an extraterrestrial civilization.

    http://cerncourier.com/cws/article/cern/59937

    However I suspect that this is the case of life as we know it on our planet though even here we have many exotic life forms, for example those in and around the hyper vents of the mid Atlantic Ridge, some life evolves under anaerobic conditions whilst others can exist at extremes of temperatures - above boiling and below freezing points and amongst all life on this planet there is a variable tolerance to radiation, some life forms have a tolerance to fairly high concentrations acids and/or alkalis This leads me to surmise that 'life' will often find a way to exist and develop, possibly in a variety of conditions we may not have thought possible.

     

    So whilst I accept that GRB's would be extremely bad for our health and the health of all or most other life on this planet, putting it mildly, I am not convinced of the impossibility of life to develop and evolve under much higher radiation regimes with the possibility of such GRB's having less effect. 

     

    To put it another way, I have had my beliefs in Father Christmas and the fairies at the bottom of the garden dashed, please don't dash my belief in little green men as well :)

    Edited by mike Meehan
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