Thursday, July 18, 2013

Forget the dredge, gold miners. Start building that starship.

Posted By on Thu, Jul 18, 2013 at 2:54 PM

Scientists have discovered what they believe might be the original mother lode -- and it's in an "exploding star system "3.9 billion light-years away," according to a report in the Los Angeles Times today:

"All the gold in the cosmos may have come from stellar cataclysms -- the collision of two neutron stars, which sends bursts of particles and radiation into the universe."

The research was conducted by a team at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, led by Edo Berger.
You can read their paper, submitted to the Astrophysical Journal Letters, here.

The researchers estimate that in the one star burst they saw there was an associated "10 times the
moon's mass in gold." Add to that all the gold from all the bursts since time began, the researchers told the LAT, and you get "all the gold in the universe" -- including the stuff embedded in Earth and glittering in our creeks and rivers.

All the gold in the universe. Tempting, Midas, isn't it? Then again, these gold-laying explosions are happening 3.9 billion light-years away. That's a fer piece. And, as Berger notes, even if some resourceful space-traveling
gold miners could access all that treasure, then the element would lose its treasure status because "the price would plummet." So, it'd become just another industrial workhorse, albeit a non-tarnishing and rather pretty one.

Better stick to gold panning and Earth-moving (yikes, not doing so well these days, actually)  for now, miners, and your fight to bring back dredging privileges.
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Heidi Walters

Heidi Walters worked as a staff writer at the North Coast Journal from 2005 to 2015.

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