Yikes! Plutonium Made in Outer Space Found On Ocean Floor

Remnants of a supernova called Cassiopeia A, located in our galaxy about 11,000 light-years from Earth. Scientists have long thought that supernovae were responsible for the creation of the heaviest elements, but new research suggests other types of stellar events may also be in play. (NASA / CXC / RIKEN / T. Sato et al.; NuSTAR: NASA / NuSTAR)

Scientists Find Plutonium Made in Outer Space on Ocean Floor

by Alex Fox/Smithsonianmag.com

Scientists studying a hunk of Earth’s crust gathered from deep in the Pacific Ocean have discovered traces of rare forms of plutonium and iron whose chemical makeup suggests they were forged in powerful collisions or explosions in outer space before falling to Earth, reports Nell Greenfieldboyce for NPR.

For many years, the predominant hypothesis was that heavy elements such as gold, silver, platinum, uranium and plutonium were created by the violent deaths of stars, called supernovae, reports Emily Conover for Science News. But a new study, published this week in the journal Science, suggests that ordinary supernovae aren’t enough to explain all the heavy elements researchers have identified in Earth’s vicinity.

Instead, the paper proposes that other interstellar events such as the collision of two super-dense collapsed stars, called neutron stars, or certain rare types of supernovae, according to Science News.

“It’s amazing that a few atoms on Earth can help us learn about where half of all the heavier elements in our universe are synthesized,” Anton Wallner, a nuclear physicist at the Australian National University as well as the Helmholtz Center in Germany and the paper’s first author, tells William J. Broad of the New York Times.

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  1. I noticed a while back, that plutonium was changed from a primordial element to non-primordial element on Wiki. That is incorrect. The number of primordial elements is 84.
    The effect of raw capitalism on science, is devastating.

  2. There is a lot of talk about these elements from nova ending up on earth. On the internet, this is one of the pieces of evidence that our sun micro-novas every 12,000 or so years, and we are up next(?) (See SuspiciousObserver, a well financed limited hang out) and other sites predicting the next end of the world. It would be interesting to get Dr. M. Keshe’s opinions on these and other matters medical – and yo the nurse. Seems to me that you might help us get by this logjam of chosen people and into the future.

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