Sunday, May 17, 2015

The True Face of the Universe

With all the recent talk about NASA taking up the goal of a manned mission to Mars, spawning out of a civilian funded colonization mission called Mars One, I thought I would do a space-related post.

Here we have a picture of Earth, taken by one of the rovers on Mars.  Mars is arguably the closest celestial body to Earth, excluding the Moon and random comets and space debris.  At times the closest is Venus, and at other times Mars.   This is a picture of what Earth looks like from the closest celestial body in the universe.  When people, particularly college professors, tell you  what we know about the universe, just remember this picture.  The closest celestial body to Earth is farther than nearly every human who ever lived has ever walked.  140 million miles.  The entire circumference of the Earth is just over 20k miles.  You could fit more than 3 thousand Earths between here, and there.

This is the immense stature of the universe.  An ocean so vast that, even were we to colonize Mars, we would only just barely have seen the shoreline of the galaxy, let alone began wading in yet, in the vast expanse of space, where hundreds of billions of stars exist in just our galaxy, which is only one of hundreds of billions of galaxy's. Trillions of stars, surrounded by trillions of planets, throughout millions of trillions of miles more than our minds, at this time, can even comprehend. Space is not just the final frontier, it is the manifest destiny of the modern age,  the ideal of the Mars colonization projects must be pushed through to succeed, not to 'claim space' which would be impossible in nearly every sense of the sentiment, but to push humanity forward, into the vast, limitless universe.  A nebula is gorgeous when viewed from hundreds of millions of miles away,
   but can you imagine being as close to it as Pluto is to the Sun?  To the right is a picture of the Trifid Nebula, some, roughly 5 thousand lightyears away from Earth.   A light-year is the amount of distance light can travel in one earth year.  The speed of light is roughly 200 thousand miles PER second.   And this nebula is at such a distance that it takes light  5 thousand years (roughly) to reach Earth.  This image, this moment, now frozen in time, is older than any nation on Earth today.  Well, parts of it are, some parts are older or younger, as the Trifid Nebula is fairly massive.

Thanks for checking out my post on Space, let me know what you think.  Sorry I have been out of it for a while, will work on making sure posts are a more regular thing.