Wednesday, February 22, 2017

looking for friends....

NASA announced today that a 'nearby star' (take that with a huge tablespoon of salt) has 7 'earth sized planets' orbiting it and three of those are in a zone scientists believe could have water and life.


Trappist-1, the name of the dwarf star, is only 40 light years away. Which means, if you wonder, whatever we're seeing from there is from 1977--just to get a handle on '40 light years away'.

I'm torn about the whole 'looking for friends' projects.

On the one hand, I'm a great supporter of pure science--any science, really. With a President who doesn't seem to believe in global warming and a Vice-President who wants 'creationism' taught along side of evolution, we need to stand up for 'science' in all its guises.

And it would be interesting to know that Trappist-1's planets harbored intelligent life. Interesting but useless since we have no way to travel there. At light speed, which is impossible, we'd arrive in 2057. Beneath light speed it would take 4 or 5 generations to traverse if we had the technology to do it, with, by the way we don't.

On the other hand, since we have no way to begin to cross the light year distances, perhaps we should just sit back, imagining ourselves to be the only intelligent life in an almost endless universe (hard to imagine we're the only intelligent life, harder to imagine an almost--or truly--endless universe!!!) and wait to be found by our 'friends' who, if they find us will be so much more advanced than we are that they might think of humans as cockroaches. Or maybe cockroaches would be more interesting to our 'new friends' who know how to travel many light years to come visit.

It was supposed to be cloudy tonight, but when I let Bela out to pee at 10 p.m. the sky was as clear as a bell. A look at the night sky--even if it's only long enough for a dog to pee--humbles me every time.

Infinity is not something I can get my head around--even if I'm one of the only intelligent beings in that infinity.

Keep going NASA. Yea Science!

But it is really all beyond my ken, as my oh-so-Irish maternal grandmother, Lina Manona Sadler Jones, would have said.

"Beyond my ken" indeed.

"The vast expanse of interstellar space" is how Eucharistic Prayer C of the Book of Common Prayer expresses it.

Beyond my ken to imagine....

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some ponderings by an aging white man who is an Episcopal priest in Connecticut. Now retired but still working and still wondering what it all means...all of it.