1 00:00:00,000 --> 00:00:04,000 I'm going to go this way, where it looks like there is probably a gold sink. 2 00:00:04,000 --> 00:00:08,000 Which would just be 3 00:00:08,000 --> 00:00:12,000 in a pool like this. 4 00:00:12,000 --> 00:00:16,000 I am on a quest for gold. Since 5 00:00:16,000 --> 00:00:20,000 NASA's James Webb Space telescope has a microscopic layer on the mirrors 6 00:00:20,000 --> 00:00:24,000 I want to know, where does gold really come from? 7 00:00:24,000 --> 00:00:28,000 Now, California is known for gold. It flows through the rivers, 8 00:00:28,000 --> 00:00:32,000 and is embedded in the mountains, but is this really where gold originates? 9 00:00:32,000 --> 00:00:36,000 Where Does Gold Come From? 10 00:00:36,000 --> 00:00:40,000 Elements of Webb 11 00:00:40,000 --> 00:00:44,000 I know, I'm giving a terrible example of what panning looks like. 12 00:00:44,000 --> 00:00:48,000 But at this point I had already driven all the way to the San Gabriel Mountains 13 00:00:48,000 --> 00:00:52,000 only to find that it is now illegal to pan for gold because it is 14 00:00:52,000 --> 00:00:56,000 is now a national monument. It would just be our luck 15 00:00:56,000 --> 00:01:00,000 that we ran into Bill Schuster, who's family has own property 16 00:01:00,000 --> 00:01:04,000 for a really long time in the mountains. And he really showed me to how to properly pan for gold. 17 00:01:04,000 --> 00:01:08,000 The first thing you've got to know, is that you’re going to get wet. 18 00:01:08,000 --> 00:01:12,000 So don't worry about getting wet. 19 00:01:12,000 --> 00:01:16,000 Gold Schooled. Gold is so heavy, the ripples will catch it. 20 00:01:16,000 --> 00:01:20,000 Most people are so scared that they're going to lose gold. 21 00:01:20,000 --> 00:01:24,000 Believe me, it will not go out. 22 00:01:24,000 --> 00:01:28,000 I already see two pieces. Two big pieces. 23 00:01:28,000 --> 00:01:32,000 There you go. So gold is incredibly rare. We can take 24 00:01:32,000 --> 00:01:36,000 all the gold that we've ever mined, or paned, 25 00:01:36,000 --> 00:01:40,000 and stick it into three Olympic sized pools. 26 00:01:40,000 --> 00:01:44,000 And the reason gold is so rare, is because it isn’t even 27 00:01:44,000 --> 00:01:48,000 from Earth, it's extraterrestrial. 28 00:01:48,000 --> 00:01:52,000 As it turns out, finding gold cosmic origins 29 00:01:52,000 --> 00:01:56,000 is a topic of hot debate. So I needed an expert to help me understand 30 00:01:56,000 --> 00:02:00,000 and luckily, Mansi was in the area. 31 00:02:00,000 --> 00:02:04,000 Do you like to wear gold? Yeah, in fact I got this gold ring in India myself. 32 00:02:04,000 --> 00:02:08,000 Gold is one of the heaviest elements in the periodic table. In fact, if you peaked into its nucleus, 33 00:02:08,000 --> 00:02:12,000 it would be filled with 197 neutrons and protons. 34 00:02:12,000 --> 00:02:16,000 And until a few years ago, we had no idea 35 00:02:16,000 --> 00:02:20,000 how gold was made in the Universe. 36 00:02:20,000 --> 00:02:24,000 Scientists debated what energetic event could make heavy elements. 37 00:02:24,000 --> 00:02:28,000 Is the power of a supernova enough? Or does it need more? 38 00:02:28,000 --> 00:02:32,000 That turns out to be very difficult to synthesize 39 00:02:32,000 --> 00:02:36,000 in any ordinary cosmic explosion. You need a very special explosion 40 00:02:36,000 --> 00:02:40,000 that can actually synthesize heavy elements like gold by R-Process. 41 00:02:40,000 --> 00:02:44,000 Now the R-Process is one of the ways to make heavy elements 42 00:02:44,000 --> 00:02:48,000 like gold. It is another way to say Rapid Neutron 43 00:02:48,000 --> 00:02:52,000 Capture Process and it happens in a matter of a couple of seconds. 44 00:02:52,000 --> 00:02:56,000 On August 17th, 2017, when the 2 neutron 45 00:02:56,000 --> 00:03:00,000 stars merged, that’s when we saw the hallmark 46 00:03:00,000 --> 00:03:04,000 infrared signature for the very first time. Now this neutron star merger 47 00:03:04,000 --> 00:03:08,000 was and still is a big deal. It's the only 48 00:03:08,000 --> 00:03:12,000 only time scientists have witnessed and measured the R-process in action. 49 00:03:12,000 --> 00:03:16,000 And up until then, it was all theoretical. 50 00:03:16,000 --> 00:03:20,000 Let's begin with 2 neutron stars spiraling towards each other and then 51 00:03:20,000 --> 00:03:24,000 merging to give birth to a black hole. 52 00:03:24,000 --> 00:03:28,000 This is where we think we saw for the very first time the gold being synthesized. 53 00:03:28,000 --> 00:03:32,000 You have an abundant supply of free neutrons. So when these neutrons 54 00:03:32,000 --> 00:03:36,000 they are able to bind to each other, join together and under go rapid capture. 55 00:03:36,000 --> 00:03:40,000 And this rapid capture gives you a slew 56 00:03:40,000 --> 00:03:44,000 of heavy elements all the way up to gold. 57 00:03:44,000 --> 00:03:48,000 What I learned is that like all heavy elements on Earth, 58 00:03:48,000 --> 00:03:52,000 gold has been here since Earth was formed. 59 00:03:52,000 --> 00:03:56,000 It was floating around the gas and dust that formed our sun 60 00:03:56,000 --> 00:04:00,000 and all the planets that formed in our solar system. 61 00:04:00,000 --> 00:04:04,000 But gold is heavy, much of what we find comes up through many veins running through the crust. 62 00:04:04,000 --> 00:04:08,000 That's why we often find gold alongside rivers 63 00:04:08,000 --> 00:04:12,000 and volcanoes. 64 00:04:12,000 --> 00:04:16,000 But what is even more poetic, is that we are using an element, 65 00:04:16,000 --> 00:04:20,000 forged in the death of stars, 66 00:04:20,000 --> 00:04:24,000 to investigate the dawn of our Universe. 67 00:04:24,000 --> 00:04:28,140 music 68 00:04:28,140 --> 00:04:28,139 music