We may be different in many ways, but the cosmic story is the same for each of us.
In all the Universe, you won’t find another planet identical to Earth.
Our planet’s 4.5 billion year history has given rise to complex, intelligent, technologically advanced life.
Yet each of us are unique, with genetic and environmental factors that no one else possesses.
And still, every being on this planet is part of the same universal cosmic story.
Everyone’s atoms arose from the same pre-solar nebula, which formed the Sun and all the planets.
That nebula came from a molecular cloud of gas that collapsed, forming thousands of stars.
Its composition was from pristine material combined with the corpses of millions of other stars.
Those prior generations of stars formed in bursts, triggered by our spiral arms and galactic mergers.
When those earlier stars died, they ejected material, but dark matter’s gravitational pull helped retain them.
Only dark matter’s influence allowed our modern cosmic web to form.
Without it, the first stellar cataclysms would have blown early proto-galaxies apart.
Dark matter enabled heavy elements to participate in future star-formation episodes, making rocky planets (and human beings) possible.
From inflation to the Big Bang to the formation of atoms, stars, and galaxies, we all share the same cosmic story.
Mostly Mute Monday tells an astronomical story in images, visuals, and no more than 200 words. Talk less; smile more.Ethan Siegel is the author of Beyond the Galaxy and Treknology. You can pre-order his third book, currently in development: the Encyclopaedia Cosmologica.