Mike Mongo's popular web presence and weblog... GET READY. GET STEADY. GO!... How To Rockstar: 28,000 Light Years, the Universe, and You

03 October 2006

28,000 Light Years, the Universe, and You

This is about space, which it turns out we have plenty of. How much is plenty?

Well, according to this source and this source and this source, our solar system is 28,000 lightyears from the center of our galaxy, the Milky Way. That's twenty-eight thousand light years!

What's a light year? It's a year's worth of travel at 186,282 miles per second.

That's right 186,282 miles per second.

So, our own galaxy's center - our own one single galaxy in a universe of a possible 125 billion galaxies - when traveling at 186,282 miles per second is 28,000 years away from us.

Furthermore, all those stars you see in the sky at night? (Well, as long as you live in the countryside where the light pollution is minimal.) Those are all stars just in our galaxy. Even with the best telescope in the world, all we have ever been capable of seeing are two things: The stars of our own galaxy, and in the distance...only other galaxies. Excpet for other galaxies, we can't even see beyond our own galaxy.

In other words, we may look but but we won't touch.

The good news is as long as there's water on mars or nearby, we can live in space. (A force shield of variable capabilities will greatly help towards this end.) The bad news? But only as far as the immediate vicinity of our own solar system, and probably no further than the Main Asteroid Belt.

Space travel in our lifetime? Absolutely. But real travel beyond our own solar system? Sci-fi fantasies aside, not in this lifetime, and, bearing in mind the limitations of science, of technology, and of ordinary biology, quite possibly not ever.


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