Nearly half of the atoms that make up our bodies may have formed beyond the Milky Way and traveled to the solar system on intergalactic winds driven by giant exploding stars, astronomers claim.
The dramatic conclusion emerges from computer simulations that reveal how galaxies grow over aeons by absorbing huge amounts of material that is blasted out of neighboring galaxies when stars explode at the end of their lives.
Powerful supernova explosions can fling trillions of tonnes of atoms into space with such ferocity that they escape their home galaxy’s gravitational pull and fall towards larger neighbours in enormous clouds that travel at hundreds of kilometres per second.
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If you've ever listened to Joni Mitchell's "Woodstock", you knew this already:
We are stardust
Billion year old carbon
We are golden
Caught in the devil's bargain
And we've got to get ourselves
Back to the garden