We are all, quite literally, made of star dust.
Many of the chemicals that compose our planet and our bodies were formed directly by stars.
Now, a new study using observations by NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope reports for the first time that silica — one of the most common minerals found on Earth — is formed when massive stars explode.
Look around you right now and there’s a good chance you will see silica (silicon dioxide, SiO2) in some form.
A major component of many types of rocks on Earth, silica is used in industrial sand-and-gravel mixtures to make concrete for sidewalks, roads and buildings.
One form of silica, quartz, is a major component of sand found on beaches along the U.S. coasts.
Silica is a key ingredient in glass, including plate glass for windows, as well as fiberglass. Most of the silicon used in electronic devices comes from silica.