If it were just us. If we were the only ones to occupy the great expanse that we call the universe. If that our little blue spec in the ocean full of specs was the only one that had any sort of life; that we were the last ones standing in the mighty cosmos.
The thought just makes your stomach churn.
For some, the paranoids, the skeptics, this would be great news. We wouldn't have to worry about a world beyond are own and the inhabitants that would threaten us. We could consume the rest of our planet because we would know that we could travel untested through the rest of the black canvas that lies above us, and we could terraform and take whatever we found. We'd have the resounding feeling that this entire existence was created solely for us.
For others - and I hope most - it would leave a large feeling of emptiness. Because it would mean, without a doubt, that we are all alone. And it would raise the question:
What's the point?
What's the point if the universe is void of life except us? What's the point if we can travel to the far reaches of space, see it's beauties, but see no other life forms? What's the point of existing if our existence is shared beyond ourselves? Is there a point?
The vastness of space is beyond any kind of comprehension. Think of the largest number you know and square that number. Then square it again. Then again. Already lost? You should be. Space, and it's mysteries, are that big.
Right now are species is on the verge of something. Like some kind of calm before the storm - a moment were we all kneel down, crouch into a ball, and are ready to burst into something else. I believe were charging for something, some kind of answer. It's coming. You can feel it.
The question: Is there other life out there?
The answer: Well if there isn't, it'd be an awful waste of space, don't you think?
PS: Watch the movie Contact.
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
One of my favorite things to look at in the entire world - or perhaps I should say in the universe - are the pictures that are produced by Hubble. They are, simply, amazing. They give us insights of the universe that were never even fathomable before. They are, at times, like through a window of a time machine, allowing us to view light that is - at times - millions of years old. Talk about some real life science fiction.
Here are some of my favorite Hubble pictures.
- The most famous of all Hubble images. This one captures the pure vastness of space, and the wonder that the deepest corners possess.
- Not the most pretty of Hubble images, but certainly one of the most important. Late in 2009 Hubble was made to look a piece of space that looked utterly black to the human eye. But, oh how it was so much more. This image shows some of the oldest pieces of the universe. 600 million light years away, this little image has over ten galaxies, meaning over a billion stars. Feeling small yet?
- My favorite out of all Hubble images. A couple galaxies overlapping each other... what's really going on out there in the universe?
Hubble can look into deep space, but why can't we send anyone to Mars?
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Although the spaces shuttle is being decommissioned it doesn't mean that our exploration of space is coming to a halt; in fact, it's quite the opposite. NASA, over the next ten years and beyond, has many space programs, and space 'adventures', ready to be proceeded with. If the NASA Moon Bomb is any idea of what our future in space going to be like, then the next few decades should be one hell of a ride.
- The orion: A massive spacecraft that has the purpose to return us to the moon by 2020, and - hopefully - be used to travel to the space station by 2015. This thing will be able to withstand massive amounts of gravity, as well as hold many crew members. Could this be the beginning of it all.
- Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter: Can humans live on mars? It's one of the biggest questions being asked today by the general public, and a question NASA is trying its best to answer. The Reconnaissance Orbiter has been in commission since 2005 and has been a huge success. What it does is simple - it orbits Mars and takes pictures. It has already taken over ten thousands pictures with some of the detail so intricate that even scientists are bewildered. Our journey towards Mars starts with this.
- Mars Science Laboratory: The next rover to land on Mars will be this guy. He'll be bigger, more equipped and much more rugged. The reconnaissance orbiter will take the pictures and be the guide, while MSL will do all the dirty work. This should be fun to watch.
- Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo: Definitely the coolest project in the works and the quickest to be completed. The Virgin Galactic SpaceShip is the first commercial plane set to go into space. And in 2011 it will ready to launch. The price: $200 000.
- Space Elevator: If anyone has read Arthur C. Clark they'll know about his idea of the Space Elevator. The idea is fairly simple: build a cable system which can carry astronauts from Earth into an orbiting space craft. It would make space travel more feasible, as well as save money, and resources. It's still mostly science fiction, though.
- Juno: Not as commercial and exciting as the rest of them, but still very important. NASA is sending a probe to scan Jupiter. Exciting right? In actuality we know very little about Jupiter, as well as Saturn, so this probe is vital for solving the gas giants mysteries.
Space is the future. We all know that. Right now it's still science fiction, but these programs, by NASA and beyond, are a step in the right direction to make the science more of a reality.
Monday, June 14, 2010
It's a harsh truth. It's one many of us try to avoid; we hide from it in the shadows - or perhaps it's in the light. But it's ever present, and ever growing.
We are using up the Earth.
Resources are dwindling, disasters are rising. The population is growing, and issues - like the warming of the planet, and the ocean levels - are suddenly becoming important. We all know that action must take place to solve these problems, but the problem is that there's that question - you know the one - that stops us in our tracks: "Well, where do we start?"
But that's beside the point. This blog is about space, the wonder of it, and the exploration of it all. And it begs another, perhaps more important, question:
"If the Earth goes, where do we go? Where do we start all over?"
There are actually two viable options for us. One is the moon. The other Mars. Both entirely different kinds of spheres, and both entirely different for why they would be a good second home. And that's what they'd be - a second home
Why the Moon?
The moon is like the child of the Earth; in fact the moon is actually a piece of the Earth that broke of eons ago when the planet was still forming. Plus it's the closest object in the sky with a grand view of home to keep away home sickness. It has its drawbacks, though. It's small and wouldn't be able to hold the majority of the human race; and if the Earth truly does turn against us then were going to need a bigger backyard. But it'd be as good a place to start as any.
Check it out: How we would live on the moon
The red planet. It's mysterious, grandeur... and, in some ways, Earth like. Mars has captured our imagination for centuries and rightly so. Mars is the only other planet in our solar system which has any inkling of life; there is even water, and the idea the land was once filled with oceans. It's also been studied that the atmosphere is very much in the same 'ball park' as ours, and the possibility of us living on Mars could prove to be very possible.
Mars is interesting though. A land full of dust, of mountains, buried streams, oceans. Could it be that Mars was once an Earth, and that what happened to Mars is happening to Earth right now. Imagine that: The creatures which occupied Mars were faced with the truth that their planet was dying and they needed a new home. They saw Earth - a beautiful and very livable land. Could we be their ancestors.
Whatever Mars was - or is - it would be prime real estate for the a future human race. Maybe we could be returning home.
Check it out: How we would Transform Mars
Friday, June 11, 2010
The universe is vast, huge, something that can't even be fathomed. It reaches beyond the power of our imagination into depths we don't understand, and that we may never understand. So we have to set our sights smaller. Our solar system, in the far corner of our galaxy, is just small piece of the giant puzzle of universe. But it's our piece, and it's a piece we can understand.
There eight planets in the solar system - sorry, Pluto - each one them unique and different from each other.
There are two planets, however, which are the giants of our solar system. They're bigger than the rest and have some very unique and intriguing attributes. What are they?
The two planets are the most similar to each other out of all the planets within our little neighborhood. They're both made out of gases; they both have over ten moons orbiting them; and they have rings systems.
So, what makes them different?
- Jupiter is closer to the sun and has a diameter which is three times bigger than Saturn.
- The mass of Jupiter is the largest in the solar system; it's three times bigger than Saturn.
- Jupiter looks much more red, and Saturn very yellow. Jupiter has the famous 'red' spot, and string of clouds and gases.
- Saturn has a very extensive ring system that can be seen through a telescope; compared to Jupiter's rings which are very, very faint.
- The density of the two planets is very different. Jupiter has mostly heavy metals, and is extremely dense; while Saturn is a little less dense than water.
- Jupiter's magnetic field is a lot more intense than Saturn; if we were to try and land on one of the two planets, Saturn would be a much more viable option.