It is currently believed that the primary source of the element Gold is supernova explosions. It also seems that the Gold on planet Earth is around the same age as the Earth itself at some 4.6 billion years. Therefore one concludes that the Earth formed very shortly after its seeding star completely sterilised the entire local area in a supernova explosion. Couple this with the recent findings that the earliest life on Earth may date back some 3.5 billion years and it seems that in terms of cosmological timescales, life found its foothold on this rocky planet almost instantaneously after the whole region had just been sterilised of all potential life.
This must be extremely good news for SETI workers, and perhaps provides us with a useful new factor in the Drake equation?
One point one billion years is not ‘almost instantaneously’.
That is true – but consider the time that the surface of the earth had actually had time to cool down sufficiently for any life to grab a hold, and the atmosphere to get itself going, and the time interval will be a lot less than 1.1 billion years – and that’s the time I actually meant to imply in the note.