Would it be possible to ride a supernova wave?
Supernovae are the explosions of stars. Only certain types of stars explode – not to worry, our Sun isn't one of them – and when they do they shine as bright as 100 billion Suns and throw out material at thousands of kilometres per second. That would be quite the surf to ride!
For most supernovae – those which are the explosions of massive stars – that material that is flying out is made up of the elements that the star produced during its life: helium, calcium, oxygen, carbon and so on up to iron. Even heavier elements are made in the explosion itself.
In fact, such supernovae are the only places we know in the universe where these elements are created and released into space. This means that every calcium atom in our bones, every oxygen atom we breath, every iron atom in our blood – all were part of a supernova, sometime, somewhere, and made their way to our bodies through the material that gathered to make the Sun, the Earth and eventually us. In that sense we are all made of particles that rode a supernova wave at some point in their past!
An abundance of different elements are jettisoned into space courtesy of a supernova