An Alien at the Beach

Walking along the beach is an excellent beginning of a new day: fresh air, big horizons, a sense of adventure and the calming meditative sound of the surf. It's as if the ocean is breathing, bringing oxygen and life ashore.

The ocean melts into the sky, the sky melts into the ocean. This vast space liberates the mind and body and keeps us in the state of wonder over the universe and its origins.

During a recent morning walk at the beach, a small alien gazed up at me from the wet sand. Well, it wasn't exactly an alien, but a shell shaped by the grinding combination of rock and waves.

Very Area-51'ish with big eyes, droplet-shaped head, and narrow jaw.  Photo by Heine Wieben Rasmussen, Bliss & Stars

Very Area-51'ish with big eyes, droplet-shaped head, and narrow jaw.

Photo by Heine Wieben Rasmussen, Bliss & Stars

When flipped over the shell resembled something entirely different - a vulva.  Photo by Heine Wieben Rasmussen, Bliss & Stars

When flipped over the shell resembled something entirely different - a vulva.

Photo by Heine Wieben Rasmussen, Bliss & Stars

Ocean, alien, vulva? What does all those three have in common? Life.

Life: We believe life started in the sea of space water.

Water is essential for life as we know it, but where did all that water originate from?

To answer this question, we have to go back in time, seriously rewinding the clock.

13.8 billion years ago, just after the big bang, only the light elements existed. Hydrogen has always been and still is the most abundant element in the universe and is the base fuel for all stars including the sun.

The fusion process in stars transforms lighter elements into heavier elements, among them oxygen. Here you go, the building blocks for water, H2O.

When a star runs out of fuel, it dies in a supernova explosion or creates a planetary nebula shredding the forged heavier elements into space literally pictured in this picture below.

When a medium sized star runs out of hydrogen, the remaining gas from the shell is thrown into space. The red color is hydrogen (H) and the bluish color is oxygen (O). Photo by Heine Wieben Rasmussen, Bliss & Stars

When a medium sized star runs out of hydrogen, the remaining gas from the shell is thrown into space. The red color is hydrogen (H) and the bluish color is oxygen (O). Photo by Heine Wieben Rasmussen, Bliss & Stars

Science believes water came to earth as cargo on comets and asteroids colliding with the planet, bringing oceans of water to an otherwise arid rock.

Not only did comets bring water, but they also brought building blocks for life. When the spacecraft Rosetta studied the comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, one of the findings was amino acid glycine, which is a base for proteins, and phosphorus, essential in DNA and cell membranes.

Is earth like an egg fertilized by a comet joining the building blocks for life?

Life is inevitable, it is the way of the universe.