The stars had to die

Have you ever thought of the fact that stars had to perish in order for us to be born?

Maybe you have heard the term “we are made of stardust” some time. Many hear this saying and think that it is romantic. But when you pragmatically think about what really went down at the time when “stardust” was made, the thought is just epic.

Starsinthesky
Credit: ESA/Hubble

Stars literally had to explode for us to ever have a chance at life!

All the heavier matter required to build planets and for human life to function, stem from only two elements (as Brian Cox casually explains in this video). These elements could only be created inside the burning furnaces of stars, in accordance with the universal laws of physics.

Furthermore, elements such as iron is only created at the end of a star’s lifetime, when it has “matured” enough and only really massive stars have the potential to ever create these elements.

The matter in our bodies were created by ancient, distant suns in the beginning of the solar universe. They burned silently for eons, expressing awesome powers, before they were ready to blast the seeds of planets across the universe.

And now we are here. I think that stardsut is an excellent example of just how valuable our lives are. The process of making humans is expensive; only getting the necessary raw materials requires the death of stars.

Of course the same holds true for lot of stuff in the universe, such as planets and moons. “So what if we are made of stardust,” someone says,  “so is everything else! Just look at the Earth, the moon and all the planets!” But the thing we fail to realise, is that it is we who take these things for granted! The majority of the universe is not comprised of planets and moons. For example, there is plenty of gas, dust and plasma in the universe. Actually, matter itself is in minority (read more about the 5 forms of matter in this LIVESCIENCE article) according to modern astronomy, as more than 90% of the known universe consists of dark matter and energy. It is only because this stuff is important to us and our lives, that we define our world by it.

We are conscious, we are the pinnacle of a process that took billions of years. And we are only starting to learn how to explore our mortal existences.

Life, and all of existence in this world, is a legacy. We should administer it well.

Some people think of life as a random fluke in the order of things. Well, if life was a coincidence, surely it was a really lucky one. Whatever luck is. But sometimes we say that our existence here is completely meaningless…

The thing is, stars have no concept of meaninglessness. Everything that happened to the ancient stars was an inevitable consequence of the nature of this universe. It was no coincidence that stardust spread out through the galaxies. It was no coincidence that planets formed.

Anyway, the stars had to go.

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