Dust to dust

As a Catholic, I try to go to church on Ash Wednesday. (As a bad Catholic, my batting average on this isn’t great.) If you’re an observer of the Lenten tradition of having a priest mess up your complexion, you’ve probably heard something like this:

“Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.”

Really knocks you down a peg, doesn’t it?

Here’s the real kick though: It’s true! Stars and planets form from clouds of space dust. Almost everything we have ever seen or touched began in some amorphous cloud floating in nothingness, until the forces of the universe (like gravity) started working on it.

Then, sometime between tomorrow and several billion years from now (bet the over because you win nothing for the under), scientists speculate the sun will go red giant and swallow up the Earth before eventually collapsing into a white dwarf and turning back into a nebula, i.e. a cloud of gas and dust.

Wherever your composite molecules and atoms are in a few billion years, you’ll be stardust again.

Happy Lent!

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