Menu

Blog

Apr 23, 2021

From stardust to pale blue dot: Carbon’s interstellar journey to Earth

Posted by in categories: materials, space

We are made of stardust, the saying goes, and a pair of studies including University of Michigan research finds that may be more true than we previously thought.

The first study, led by U-M researcher Jie (Jackie) Li and published in Science Advances, finds that most of the carbon on Earth was likely delivered from the interstellar medium, the material that exists in space between stars in a galaxy. This likely happened well after the protoplanetary disk, the cloud of dust and gas that circled our young sun and contained the building blocks of the planets, formed and warmed up.

Carbon was also likely sequestered into solids within one million years of the sun’s birth — which means that carbon, the backbone of life on earth, survived an interstellar journey to our planet.

Leave a reply