Gold – the glistening piece of metal that has been around for over centuries has benefitted humankind in numerous ways. With its first usage in 600BC as coins, to the modern-day usage in dentistry for a tooth filling, medicine to treat diseases and industrial equipment to build electronics, gold has proven itself to be a valuable metal apart from its heavy consumption in the fashion industry to make jewelry. People buy gold for investment purposes and to secure their wealth against fiat money. Being so versatile and the sight of fascination and temptation for ones who see it, have you ever thought where does this beauty come from?
Well, most of you might say that “Obviously, from the gold mines.” followed by the fact that it’s mined from there and from riverbeds where gold nuggets flow from the mountains, but in reality, its origins can be further traced back to space.
Back on August 17th, 2018, an unprecedented event in scientific history was observed when scientists detected gravitational waves for the first time, which led us to understand “The Big Bang” (origin of the universe) and other discoveries, including that of gold. Professor Andrew Levan of Warwick University, a leading member in analyzing the event, said that “We estimate that the collision created about as much gold as the mass of the Earth.” Just to give a context, it’s equivalent to 6×1021 tons (6 followed by 21 zeros) of pure gold produced only from this event.
The discovery further tells us that gold might be formed in space over billions of years ago from the fusion of lighter elements into heavier ones, i.e., converging of iron atoms to create the ones of gold. It gives conclusive evidence that when the Earth was formed and was a glowing rock, some of the gold sank into the molten core of the Earth, and hence volcanic eruptions puke out the gold with the lava, only to be cooled after many years and mined by humans to extract the yellow metal.
With plenty of gold present in the Earth’s core, it is tough to extract it, which in turn leaves humanity to search for other territories of space, such as the moon and asteroids. Mining asteroids for precious metals like gold and silver is called “Asteroid Mining.” Recent enough on April 6th, 2020, US. President Donald Trump signed an executive order which recognizes private interests to mine resources from space. The rule states that “Outer space is a legally and physically unique domain of human activity, and the United States does not view it as a global commons.” This order has created a political tension amongst the nations, especially the long-time antagonist Russia. It’s saying that this aggressive tactic of seizing outer space territory is unacceptable.
Leaving this “Who owns space?” debate for another time, we hope that the gold origins has fascinated you enough so that the next time you go to buy gold, this thought will spring to your mind that “Where did this thing come from?”