I am amazed at scientists that speculate on items like the chance
of intelligent life in the universe. We are not able to conceive of how we
would ever be able to travel to our closest solar neighbor, much less between
galaxies. Just how big is the universe. The answer keeps changing as we come up
with more powerful telescopes and as usual is just an estimate that is based on
the “observable” universe. The fact is that we are not able to see all the way
to the edge of the universe. Just ten years ago scientists estimated that there
were at least 100 billion galaxies in the observable universe. Today that
number has grown to a range of 500 billion to a trillion galaxies. These
are numbers that are far beyond my grasp.
The Milky Way galaxy is not extremely large and yet is contains
approximately 200 billion solar system. Our closest solar neighbor is Alpha Centauri. This isn’t a single star, it’s
actually a triple-star system — three stars bound together by gravity. Alpha
Centauri A and B are two bright, closely orbiting stars with a distant, dim
companion named Proxima Centauri. The inner binary appears to the unaided eye as
a single star, the third brightest in the night
sky, but it lies 4.37 light years from the Sun. Faint Proxima Centauri
is the one that claims the honor of being our true nearest stellar neighbor at
only 4.24 light years away. If we were able to achieve a velocity of 10% of the
speed of light (not a clue as to how we would achieve and maintain this) the
round trip would take 85 years.
The estimated size of our galaxy is 100,000 light years in
diameter. Do you think that is large, it’s not? The
Andromeda galaxy, at a distance of about 2.5 million light years,
also known as NGC 224 and M31 – is the nearest galaxy to the Milky Way apart from
smaller companion galaxies such as the Magellanic Clouds. Andromeda is also a
‘spiral’ galaxy, like the Milky Way. From locations far away from the city
lights, it can be spotted with the naked eye. The space between the two
galaxies is 25 times the size of our galaxy! That would be quite a long trip.
Just how large is the universe? The proper distance —the distance as would be measured at a
specific time, including the present—between Milky Way and the edge of the
observable universe is 46
billion light-years (14 billion parsecs), making the diameter of the observable universe about
light-years (28 billion parsecs) assuming we are near the center.
I’ll leave you with the following to ponder: Since
the best estimate is that the Universe started from a singularity 13.7 billion
years ago how could it possibly be larger than 13.7 billion light-years in
I recently had the opportunity to view a
documentary on National Geographic that chronicled the origins and progress of
the SpaceX Company. I had heard a few reports on this company but not realize
that they had been working on their mission for almost 20 years!
In May 2002, Musk founded SpaceX, an aerospace manufacturer and
space transport services company, of which he is CEO and lead designer. He
helped fund Tesla, Inc., an electric vehicle and solar panel manufacturer, in
2003, and became its CEO and product architect. In 2006, he inspired the
creation of SolarCity, a solar
energy services company that is now a subsidiary of Tesla, and operates as its
The ultimate goal of SpaceX is to colonize Mars. Their approach is
to make the process more economical by reusing the some (or eventually all) of
the orbital components.
I highly recommend that the reader check out the SpaceX
documentary on the National Geographic Chanel.
In the meantime, check out a couple of brief videos, the 2nd
one demonstrates a successful test of reusable components from a recent orbital
Most of us will display one or more
psychopathic traits. This does not mean that we are psychopaths. However, when
a person displays half or more then there is a decent chance that the
individual is extremely dangerous.
The twenty traits on the Hare Psychopathy
pathological lying * 11. glib and superficial charm *
grandiose sense of self * 12. need for stimulation *
cunning and manipulative 13. lack of remorse or guilt *
shallow emotional response * 14. callousness and lack of empathy *
sexual promiscuity * 16. early behavior problems *
lack of realistic long-term goals * 17. impulsivity *
irresponsibility 18. failure to accept responsibility *
many short-term marital relationships 19. juvenile delinquency
revocation of conditional release 20. criminal versatility
I have tagged (*) 13 of these traits. I have emphasized a few (7) of these traits in bold type. Does this remind you of anyone? There have been numerous cult leaders that possess a majority of these traits. Their followers were not bad people, just programmed to believe that their leader could do no wrong despite considerable evidence to the contrary. If you are aware of any leader that displays a majority of these traits I would encourage you not to drink the Kool Aid at the end.