Monday, January 09, 2017

From Dust To Dust

Dust is a very interesting phenomenon of physics.

On the one hand, dust is the leftovers of destruction. Saw a board or drill a hole and you will produce dust equal to the width of your saw blade or drill bit. Common house dust results primarily from the destruction of skin cells shed by your body. Other dust on the floor may be what was scraped from the topsoil and transferred to your shoes.

On the other hand, dust is the beginning of a remarkable reconstruction process. Just about everything in the universe was at one time mere dust floating about.

The universe is full of dust particles in the process of accreting themselves back together. Over millions of years, dust particles attract each other to create planets, stars, and all celestial bodies in between.

That’s why it was so important to study the surface of the moon. The gravity of our moon is a virtual vacuum, sucking to its surface trillions of tons of celestial dust — the virgin building blocks of the solar system of the future.

Eons from now, the dust on your front lawn will be compacted into layers of solid rock, pressed down from the accumulation of centuries of dust piling on top of it. Evidence of that can be seen in the layers of the Grand Canyon — even in outcroppings along a highway ramp construction.

And the dust bunnies under your bed? That’s just the first attempt of your dead skin cells trying to clump together to form something even more grandiose.

It’s no wonder that “dust to dust” has become a metaphor for the cycle of life. Not only was Man created from the dust of the Earth, the Earth itself was created from the dust of the cosmos. Pretty impressive.

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