Space Travel: Now and Then
Since the very dawn of the written word, and from the moment we found the way to record our thoughts, and probably even since from the beginning of our time as far as we know and presume, human beings have expressed a certain inquire, repeatedly through the ages, gazing at the sky:
Well, what’s all this then?
Our starry sky definitely puzzled many civilizations before ours. It is only common knowledge that Mayan people built observatories, and there are many speculations about their actual contact with alien beings, based on their carvings and representations of unknown entities. On the other hand, firm evidence from the Bronze Age ensures us that we had significant knowledge of space and cosmic objects thousands of years before we even previously assumed. In fact, have you ever heard of Wan-Hu? Wan who, right!? He was the first known astronaut, allegedly from the sixteenth century China, and the legend goes that this government official built a rocket, and actually flied to the Moon. Maybe that explains this somewhat late rescue mission.
At this point, we are preparing to colonize Mars with a one way mission, and we are reinventing spaceships and rockets on a daily level so with the current development of the technology, and combined efforts from many different sources, one could say that space travel to further distances is certain, and just a matter of time. As we can see, future Mars One travelers can’t wait to leave Earth, even if it means never returning back, some of them literally don’t care. It’s not too hard to imagine what awaits those pioneers of Mars, and hopefully it won’t be a brutal death from heat, radiation or starvation as many would like to think. But what awaits us further down the road? Or, to be precise, up in space? Well, here are a few tricky predicaments that future space travelers could encounter.
For the sake of those astronomers and space enthusiasts who may feel revolted because we won’t address how big and incomprehensible problem space travel actually is, we will try to explain what traveling with the light of speed should look like to help with clarifying this matter. Are you ready? OK, blink! Are you done? Good, because that’s the time you need to circle around planet Earth for three times, if you are traveling with the speed of light. Given the fact that the Milky Way is still a vast void of 120, 000 light years, approximately in diameter, we admit that we have absolutely no idea how would anyone get across. Don’t judge us, nobody is actually sure. But let’s not spoil all the fun, and let’s see what dangerous entities await us up there in the dark.
Exactly one hundred years ago, there was this one short, shaggy type of fellow who provided us with an explanation on one of the greatest mysteries of our galaxy, a point where gravity and mass collide into one, well let’s call it what it is, a black hole. Although many assumptions were made about this phenomenon, and we yearn to take a look at the insides of this inexplicable entity for decades now, we will explain what the actual experience would look like.
While you approach to this black sphere that knows no light, the first thing that would happen is that the gravity of the hole would pull you so hard into its center, that you would become a sort of a string, or a single spaghetti, with your feet separated for miles from your head. After that, everything would speed up, and soon you would notice a light at the end of the tunnel, and then you would reach something a scientist loves to call “a central singularity.” What is that, you might ask? Well, that’s what they are asking themselves as well. Apparently, the force of gravity of this infinitely small point stops time and space, and the laws of physics as we know them stop existing. Everything becomes nothing, and nothing becomes everything. So yes, that would be a trippy experience if you were wondering.
Pillars of Creation
Let’s add some confusion to that space-time perception. Only 7, 000 light years from us, in the constellation Serpens, lays an open cluster of stars called Star Queen Nebula, or Eagle Nebula. The wonderful thing about Eagle Nebula is that it is a home for many new-forming stars, and also of the Pillars of Creation.
However, even if we would have the technology to transport there at this very moment, all chances are that Pillars are not standing there anymore. In fact, they are probably not there for more than 8, 000 years ago, when a Supernova exploded and wiped them off the face of Earth. Well, not Earth, but you get the point. So how are we seeing this bundle of gas and stars today? Well the Eagle Nebula is so far from us that the light from the supernova explosion is only 2, 000 years old to us. But the actual final outcome will be visible to us in a millennium or so, so if we would have any chance to get there today – we have no idea what we would find. Basically, those ten years old pictures of Pillars are a glimpse to a distant history, so in a manner we are time travelers already.
The Galactic Center
Remember that black hole we talked about? Well get this, in the center of our galaxy there is a black hole too! A big one, believe it or not, and we are all rotating around it, and eventually it will soak us in like a sponge. Well, that’s something to look for, looks like we will actually get the chance to travel unbelievable distances. In addition to that, we are still coming very late to that party, because there was a star formation around this center of ours, just a few million years ago. Want to hear the scary part? There are many young stars around this hole, and we have no idea how they formed, or how did they got there. In fact, scientists are gazing at this paradox at this very moment, questioning their core beliefs of the galaxy. Well, guess we will have to wait and see.
No matter what awaits us, there is one certain option that we can count on. We won’t understand it, not now, not ever, no matter how close we might get. But hey, what else are you going to do? Let’s gaze at those stars, and let’s wonder is there an entity that understands all this more than us. Who knows, maybe there is a curious representative of some alien species, somewhere in the dark and thousands of light years away, gazing to the pit, same as us, wondering:
Well, what’s all this then?
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