Some great space debate here, as well as a pristine POP (PinkyOrangePurple) space photo. Michio Kaku uses a similar ant analogy as I thought of, which I guess is quite an obvious one. The article inspired me to think of a new one, on why we haven’t had contact with any other life in the universe –
that we’re like an agoraphobic T.V. addict who opens the door of its house for the first time, takes one step outside, and expects to see everything it has seen on television in its backyard –
because as the article says, there are thought to be billions of stars and galaxies in our universe, and probably many universes, maybe billions. We’ve only been in space a few decades of the 13.7 billion that our universe is thought to have existed, and have barely left our planet. We are still shocked by our first experiences – nearly all only passing images and robot landings – of planets and moons in our solar system – another analogy I’ve just thought of, without knowing how original it is, is that it’s like we’ve ventured into the sea for the first time, looked under the waves with our new invention – goggles – and expect to know everything about all the oceans on Earth from our first experiences.
It’s frustrating that the more we learn, the more we know how limited our knowledge and place in the whole of existence is. However, it is to humanity’s credit that we have reached as far into space as we have, and that we, through science, are willing to make that journey, physically and mentally.
Part I: The Question
The most simple questions that we can ask often turn out to be the biggest. Physicist Enrico Fermi is testament to this with his big ask ‘where is everyone?’ Where is everyone in the vast universe, why do we hear nothing but silence when we scour the night skies, where are all the aliens?
When we look up a particularly starry night sky we are only observing a very small proportion of the stars in our galaxy. Which in itself is a very very small proportion of the stars in our observable universe (note. observable universe, and that’s just the part closest surrounding us that we can receive light from!) Let’s throw some numbers into the mix.
Part II: The Calculation
There are 100-400 billion (yes billion that’s 10^9) stars in our Milky way galaxy. Now astronomers believe that there are roughly 100 billion galaxies in…
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