Story and art by Paul Ingvaldsen / Opinion Editor
A new understanding of the age of life throughout the universe, from the “Big Bang” until now, has emerged among modern astronomers. LBCC assistant astronomy professor Amy Fredericks explains,
“Life could not have existed for a long time after the ‘Big Bang,’ because there were so many gamma ray bursts.”
Gamma rays are emitted when atom bombs explode and stars die. Astronomers generally agree, during the early life of the universe, many stars are giant suns that go supernova and collapse quickly. Being larger, their life cycle is shorter. When they collapse, mega stars emit gamma rays so destructive, no DNA can form. By the time the universe becomes less radioactive and cools down, matter has dispersed across millions of light years.
“The Sun and the planets formed about 4.5 billion years ago,” Fredericks said, “evolving into all these life forms. I’m not a biologist, so I don’t know the specifics of it, but as soon as things settled down and life could develop, it did.”
Considering the possibility of parallel universes, wherein life develops under the same general conditions as we evolve from the same universal birth time, Fredericks expressed a note of caution.
“In galaxies,” she said, “there are some stars that live a long time so any civilization in their star system could still be going strong, much more advanced than us.”
Last year astronomers launched a rocket to orbit an asteroid in deep space. Once the orbit was established, a probe was sent to the surface. After a rough landing, it fell out of position into a shadow. Transmitting briefly, it lost power. The solar batteries were unable to recharge until this Spring, when the sun will shine upon the probe again.
Inspired by many new discoveries in space, including the possibility of parallel universes throughout the galaxies, ambitious engineering students are reportedly preparing to launch a mission seeking the LBCC President Eloy Oakley double in the nearest alternate universe.