Podcaster: Richard Drumm
Space Scoop: Piecing Together Life on Earth

Organization:365 Days Of Astronomy

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Description: Space scoop, news for children

When stars die, the materials the star has been fusing for millions of years, all the way up to iron, are melted back down into sub-atomic particles. Then they are remade in a process called explosive nucleosynthesis. More than remade, the elements higher than iron, up to uranium are assembled in a flash.

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Bio: Richard Drumm is President of the Charlottesville Astronomical Society and President of 3D – Drumm Digital Design, a video production company with clients such as Kodak, Xerox and GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals. He was an observer with the UVa Parallax Program at McCormick Observatory in 1981 & 1982. He has found that his greatest passion in life is public outreach astronomy and he pursues it at every opportunity.

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This is the 365 Days of Astronomy Podcast. Today we bring you a new episode in our Space Scoop series. This show is produced in collaboration with Universe Awareness, a program that strives to inspire every child with our wonderful cosmos.

Piecing Together Life on Earth

Here’s an amazing fact: Every single atom in your body was cooked in a star billions of years ago — the calcium in your bones, the iron in your blood, even the gold in the jewelry you wear.

When stars die, the newly made materials are flung out into space to be recycled as new stars, planets and even people. Occasionally these atoms can stick together, like Lego pieces, building something special – organic molecules.

Organic molecules are known as the building blocks of life, because while no-one knows exactly how life began, one thing is certain; these tiny particles played an important role.

Organic molecules can be found in things all over the Earth, from the bottom of the ocean to the top of mountains. But how they are made in nature is a mystery that astronomers are still working to solve.

Earth and the other planets in our Solar System formed from the material left over after the birth of our star, the Sun. So, scientists have been studying stars similar to how the Sun looked when it was young, searching for clues to the origin of organic molecules.

And their efforts paid off! One of the building blocks of life was spotted around three separate stars, each one very similar to the Sun when it was young. The molecule was found inside the warm cocoons of cosmic dust and gas surrounding each stars!

What does this tell us? There are two main ideas about how life on Earth came about. Either life originated entirely on the surface of the Earth, or some of the building blocks were formed around the Sun before the Earth had even formed.

Based on this new discovery, it looks more likely that the second idea is correct! In this case, these organic molecules became part of the comets in our Solar System. These comets may then have delivered the materials to our planet, where they led to the rise of the very first life forms.

Cool Fact
This star system seems to keep on giving! The new discovery comes follows the discovery of sugar around the same stars five years ago!

Thank you for listening to the 365 Days of Astronomy Podcast!

End of podcast:

365 Days of Astronomy
The 365 Days of Astronomy Podcast is produced by Astrosphere New Media. Audio post-production by Richard Drumm. Bandwidth donated by and wizzard media. You may reproduce and distribute this audio for non-commercial purposes. Please consider supporting the podcast with a few dollars (or Euros!). Visit us on the web at or email us at  This year we will celebrate more discoveries and stories from the universe. Join us and share your story. Until tomorrow! Goodbye!

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