Gamma-Ray Bursts: Statistical Analyis as to Why it’s so very Quiet Out There
A new paper has been released detailing statistical analysis of the frequency of gamma-ray bursts (GRB) and outlying why it is a limiting factor in life’s development in the galaxy. The paper is located here:
There are several interesting takeaways from this paper. First the paper concludes that there was a 50% chance that GRB lead to at least one of the mass extinction events on Earth over the last 500 Myr. Take your pick as to what mass extinction event to tie into GRB, as the majority of them are very poorly understood. The Permian–Triassic extinction event would seem like the most likely candidate, where up to 96% of marine and 70% of land life suddenly disappeared from the fossil records. It’s a pure guess on my part, as conversely there is a 50% chance a GRB did not occur in the last 500 Myr. It now has to be part of the conversation when discussing mass extinction events.
Next, from a statistical standpoint, there is a high probability that life would has been totally wiped off the face of the planet at some point, at least once, between when it first appeared ~3.5 Gyr and today. Keep in mind it only took ~700 Myr the dominate life on Earth to go from the first worm like creatures to iPhone 6 obsessed apex predators. This leaves us with an opening to rewrite the narrative of just what might have occurred between 3.5 and 0.7 Gyr in the past.
Lastly, and what I find the most interesting is that this could be the single biggest limiting factor for life’s development “out there.” This is the portion of the paper that I need sometime to digest, but I feel will have the biggest impact in our quest for life outside of the blue and seemingly very lucky little marble we call home.