Scientists, philosophers, priests, and ordinary people had always been wondering what the source of life is. How humans appeared on Earth? Why do we have feelings and consciousness? Why is there such an extraordinary diversity when it comes to life forms? The emergence and development of life are far too complex to be explained, as there are plenty of pieces of the puzzle missing. But the good news is that scientists are fully capable of finding some compelling key answers for specific parts of the subject.
Carbon is an indispensable element for all life forms dwelling on Earth. The basic building blocks of life are amino acids, and they are composed of hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, and of course: carbon. And now, scientists believe they’ve found a new source for the carbon atoms that exist in the molecules of every living organism.
White dwarfs are the main source of carbon
The vast majority of the stars from the Universe end up as white dwarfs after they lose their fuel. White dwarfs are the ‘corpses’ of stars, and they are extremely dense. After billions of years of living, these white dwarfs start to cool and lose their outer material. Their remains are transported through space by winds that belong to their bodies. And yes, you’ve guessed it: that debris contains various chemical elements like carbon.
Paola Marigo, who is a lead author of the study and also a researcher at the University of Padua in Italy, explained:
Our study interprets this kink in the initial-final mass relationship as the signature of the synthesis of carbon made by low-mass stars in the Milky Way,
Now we know that the carbon came from stars with a birth mass of not less than roughly 1.5 solar masses,
Most scientists believe that all the chemical elements that exist in our bodies came from stars and other cosmic ‘monsters’ like supernovas. Furthermore, all the hydrogen atoms (the most widespread and simple atoms in the Universe) had been born due to the Big Bang itself.
The new study of the white dwarfs creating carbon was published recently in the journal Nature Astronomy.