Wednesday, August 11

You are a Child of the Skies

As human beings we are connected to every living thing in nature. Every human, animal and plant on the planet is a member of our family. But our connection goes even deeper than that. Our very existence is due to the stars, and so we are connected to the whole of the universe. We are children of the skies.

When the universe was first born it contained only the simplest elements, some hydrogen, some helium, and a handful of Lithium. This is enough to create gaseous planets and stars, but nothing more complicated than that. The universe was nothing but of Stars, gas clouds and gas giants. And then the Stars began to explode.

Stars, like our sun, are gigantic nuclear reactors, fusing hydrogen and helium into heavier and heavier elements. When a star dies all of the elements it has created are released in a massive explosion. More stars are formed from the dust cloud, and in their turn also die. As more and more stars are born and die more heavy elements are created. And eventually a solar system can form that is heavy element rich. A planet can come into being that has the potential for life.

This shouldn't be possible! Without the death of thousands of stars, the basic elements of life could not exist. Without the right combination of elements on our planet DNA could never have formed. Without the planet being positioned just right in the solar system with just the right atmosphere life could never have survived.

death+of+a+star.gifWe are the product of thousands of remarkable moments in history, incredible chances, and astonishing coincidences. Your own life story can be traced back to the beginning of the universe. If the universe had not been the way it is, if the stars had not formed and died the way they do, if the Earth had not been the perfect nursery for life, had any one of your billions of ancestors decided not to reproduce, had any of these moments altered in the slightest in their course, then you would not exist today.

And it all began from stardust. Every atom in you is the result of a remarkable journey, beginning at the birth of the universe and travelling through the millennia to become you. And not just you. The air you breathe, the ground you stand on, the water you drink, your entire existence, is the end product of billions of years of life, and death of galaxies, stars, and worlds.
You are the last breath of a dying star. You are a child of the sky.

And one day, when our Sun consumes the Earth in its death throes, and itself ceases to be, you will once again be scattered into the universe, to become a new Sun or a new world. And so, thanks to your atoms, life may begin all over again.

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