Science, Now + Beyond

We’re all made of stardust. Here’s how.

Stardust is present in each and every one of us, and makes up vital parts of our bodies.

Humankind is now a 7.7 billion strong force. Our planet hosts constantly contrasting groups of people who occupy various corners of the Earth, each part of their own ethnicity and beliefs. A culmination of cultures. with these differences come different opinions on how or what humans were made of.

So I’m going to present to you a magical theory – stardust is present in each and every one of us, and makes up vital parts of our bodies.

Sounds lovely, doesn’t it?

Well, it turns out that there is science behind it.

Let me start off with a beautiful piece of poetry by Nikita Gill :

“We have calcium in our bones, iron in our veins, carbon in our souls, and nitrogen in our brains. 93 percent stardust, with souls made of flames, we are all just stars that have people names.”

Now that I’ve confused you more by injecting poetry into this introduction, let me get to the point.

Everything you see and don’t see is made up of elements. And almost every element on Earth was formed at the heart of a star. To understand this theory better, it is important to understand supernovas, and the link between stars, elements, planet earth, and finally us.

After the Big Bang, tiny particles combined to form hydrogen and helium. As time went on, young stars formed when clouds of gas came closer due to gravity and became denser. In temperatures of over 10 million degrees celsius – hydrogen and helium nuclei fused to form heavier elements.  In stars, this reaction where lighter elements are converted to heavier ones continues today. As heavier elements are produced, they too are burnt inside stars to synthesize heavier and heavier elements, such as oxygen, and iron.

During a supernova, when a massive star explodes at the end of its life, the resulting high energy environment ignites the creation of some of the heaviest elements including iron and nickel. The explosion also spreads the different elements across the universe, scattering the stardust which now makes up planets including Earth.

 A gif of a man looking appalled and saying "Good Lord."
[Image Description: A gif of a man looking appalled and saying “Good Lord.”] Via Giphy
Think of it as an exploding firework where all the glittery sparks shooting outward come together to form something solid.

With reference to Ask A Biologist :

Of the elements found in the human body, four of them make up the largest percentage of our body weight (a whopping 96.2%)! The four elements are oxygen, hydrogen, carbon, and nitrogen. Before you start thinking we should float away with all the oxygen, hydrogen, and nitrogen gas, remember that the oxygen molecules are mainly part of the water in our body (H2O). In fact, over half of the human body is made up of water (50-70%).

Now for our magical link. If the elements making up the planet we live on are made by these multi-color explosions inside stars, and these same elements are a major part of our bodies, we are the very essence of those stars. The stardust is inside of us. What’s more, is if Earth itself is a product of the stars combusting, can we say that the metals, the elements we find present inside Earth are made of stardust too?

Let’s take this mind-boggling thought a little deeper.

Everything that exists, whether it’s man-made or natural phenomena, is made of elements. This means that every single thing that exists on our planet, no matter what it may be, is made of stardust. It leads us to question. Does the beginning, the original creation of anything start with the formation of substances through stardust? Is that the most basic point of origin?

I guess the compliment “You’re a star,” could be taken a little more literally by you next time.

Maybe all this is too poetical to be true. Or maybe, we are just stars, living on a star, amongst millions of stars in a never-ending galaxy. The next time you’re staring up at the night sky, think about how the stars staring back down on you may one day, be a part of someone new.