Enter Kepler

It just so happened that my decision to begin watching Dr. Who coincided quite nicely with a trip to the Adler Planetarium. Even more astounding was that the day I was there, the project manager for NASA’s Kepler program was giving a lecture updating patrons on the current state of intergalactic affairs. Kepler is a telescope out in space that seeks planets in a certain section of the universe. NASA then sorts the data to find planets existing in an inhabitable zone. Basically, Kepler is on the lookout for planets that can potentially sustain life.

The data so far has not yielded such an environment, but there are years worth of data still to sort. NASA considers the project a huge success.

So what if we do find a life sustaining planet? Right now, we can’t get there. I suppose we can look at them and wonder if they’re looking at us. Maybe the discovery will mean something to our ancestors. The more I think about the vastness of the universe, the more I believe there must be other life. There are billions of suns and NASA asserts that all of them have at least one planet orbiting. Not all the planets are in an orbit close enough yet far enough from their sun to produce water, but of the billions of systems, there must be a few life-bearing rocks.

The moment we make contact is difficult to fathom. It might not be for ages. The way I see it, traveling through long distances in space is basically traveling through time. If the human race ever figures out warp speed, the technology will bend time as well. The two are infinitely linked.

That lecture, along with the other amazing information at Alder blew my mind. The universe is astounding and beautiful. And here I thought I had so much to see on earth. It’s nothing compared with all there is to see across galaxies.


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