How does star stuff become us?

Star stuff bursts forth from stellar explosions as individual atoms. Some of these elements are rare but quite familiar. The gold in that necklace? It formed when two neutron stars collided billions of years ago. But at some point, these individual atoms started to come together. Just as the letters in an alphabet are combined to form tens of thousands of words, the elements created by stars are combined into virtually limitless varieties of molecules. That salt on your table? Its sodium and chlorine atoms formed in a supernova explosion of an enormous star.

“The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars.” -Carl Sagan

Over 90% of your body is made of star stuff. Yet, there’s still much we don’t know about how atoms drifting through space come together into gas, solid particles, and eventually planets and life. Comets can help us answer some of these questions, and CAESAR could bring back a piece of one for us to study.

Colliding stars