Earth, humans, and all living creatures are made from stars • Earth.com

Earth, humans, and all living creatures are made from stars

01-23-2022

Today’s Video of the Day from the National Science Foundation explains that most of the elements that make up the Earth, humans, and all living creatures were formed in stars. Powerful stellar explosions are the source of many of the elements of the periodic table, including those that make up the human body.

According to Live Science, the carbon, nitrogen and oxygen atoms in the human body – as well as atoms of all other heavy elements – were created in previous generations of stars over 4.5 billion years ago. Professor Chris Impey from the University of Arizona explained that because humans and all animals contain these elements, we are literally made of star stuff.

Dr. Ashley King is a planetary scientist and meteorite researcher at the Natural History Museum.”It is totally 100% true: nearly all the elements in the human body were made in a star and many have come through several supernovas,” said Dr. King.

He explained that it’s very likely that there are a whole bunch of different stars that have contributed the elements we see in our own solar system, our planet, and those found within human bodies. 

“At the atomic scale, we are all made of the same things. Where did those atoms come from? Every element was forged in the cosmos, from stars that collapse and collide to black holes that fire jets deep into space,” reports the National Science Foundation.

“Not only are we ‘made of star stuff,’ we are made of atoms that were forged in some of the most intense environments in the universe.”

NASA gets very specific on the subject, noting that the hydrogen in your body, present in every molecule of water, came from the Big Bang. 

“There are no other appreciable sources of hydrogen in the universe,” said NASA. “The carbon in your body was made by nuclear fusion in the interior of stars, as was the oxygen. Much of the iron in your body was made during supernovas of stars that occurred long ago and far away.”

Video Credit: National Science Foundation

By Chrissy Sexton, Earth.com Staff Writer

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