Thinking Aloud On A Sunday

Space: The Final Frontier.

I woke up thinking about Space today. Probably because there has been a lot of fuss this week about the photo of a black hole in space. Scientists don’t really know what happens inside a black hole, but they have theories of course. They may lead to another dimension entirely, or back to one that is parallel to our own. Time might stand still inside a black hole, creating a Star-Trek style time warp, changing the concept of time as we understand it.

That sounds exciting, doesn’t it?

But then I heard that this monster black hole is actually 55,000,000 light years away from Earth. I don’t know a lot about light years, but driving 130 miles to London seems like a mission to me, so I am guessing that 55,000,000 light years is a considerable distance, to say the least.

I looked up how many miles are in just one light year. I don’t really understand the answer, but here it is. 5.8786254 x 1012 miles. Sounds like a lot of miles to me. I multiplied that by 55,000,000, and got this answer. 327 204 289 764 miles. I’m guessing the 327 is ‘trillion’, and the 204 is ‘billion’. If so, it’s a lot further than my imagination can reach, in terms of comprehending distance. Much further away than anything else that is a long way away, I’m guessing.

Is it just me, or does this all seem rather pointless to anyone else? The cost of producing these current photos alone is estimated to be around $16,000,000 dollars. And it’s not actually a photo of the black hole at all. It is the result of pointing a number of radio telescopes into the region, and then getting a computerised prediction of what it would look like, based on the ‘findings’. If you gave a group of nursery children enough marker pens and asked them to draw a black hole in space, they would probably have come up with something remarkably similar. A big red circle, with a black hole in the middle of it.

I am old enough to remember when the first spaceships were launched, and I have always wondered about the point of it all, and how much better the money could have been spent on problems we face on Earth. Since then, we have had Moon Landings, (or did they?) Space Walks, Space Stations, Space Weapons, and Satellites. Then there were ‘ robot landers’, small vehicles creeping around on planets that looked a lot like Death Valley in America, sending back hazy images of ‘other worlds’.

Now there is talk of an American ‘Space Force’, armies based in space, presumably on very large space stations. In the decades following Yuri Gagarin’s trip into space in 1961, we have had some very nice photos of planet Earth from above, the idea of teflon-coating saucepans, (apparently) and satellites to make using mobile phones and TV channels easier. The military can watch their drones and bombs kill people across continents, in real time, and terrorist suspects can be observed as they enjoy a mint tea in Damascus.

But was it all worth it? Do we still need to keep spending money on something so far away, we cannot even imagine the distance in our educated minds?

I suggest not.

Not on a planet where we face untold issues around climate change, plastic pollution, water shortages, disease, and a list of other problems too big to add here.

54 thoughts on “Thinking Aloud On A Sunday

  1. I agree too, Pete! But i think these actions are not for the normal people. Some “higher quallity” people my think they will need something like an arch for a longer vacancy. 😉 When the difference between poor and rich getting higher we have to espect civil war activities in whole Europe. To end this they will need to stop the production of energy and other things. Do you think people with more money as brain capabilities will accept living in circumstances like around the early 19th century? 😉 Best wishes, Michael

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post 🙂 One does indeed wonder what is so important up there that needs money spending on that one can’t spend here on Earth especially considering the problems at home (depending on what country one lives in). You know, your thoughts remind me of what David Thewlis character in Mike Leigh’s Naked talked about. Here is the link below that I am talking about below and keep up the great work as always 🙂 P.S. Thewlis speech begins (or at least the part I am talking about) begins at the 2:28 mark of the video 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It is no surprise that these are some of the folks who have given up on life on earth and fantasize that they can survive in outer space. Reminds me of the ones who built bomb shelters so they could survive after total war instead of working for peace.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Eddy. Nobody on Earth now could ever even get close to that black hole, in their lifetimes, or that of their grandchildren. By that time, problems on Earth will have likely wiped us all out anyway. So I do think it is better to spend the money here, instead of on ‘Landers’, and nice so-called ‘photos. 🙂
      Cheers, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s an interesting debate to be sure, Pete – there are many great reasons to explore beyond our planet, but I also agree that we have many things to fix here first – and bravo for the aside about the moon landing – it reminds me of “Capricorn One” – anyone who saw that great thriller knows the moon landing took part on a soundstage!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The numbers are staggering. I doubt most of us could comprehend a billion, much less a trillion. And, there needs to be a happy medium. Exploring space is a good thing, from discovery to research. A Space Force? Nah! Best to you. Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Sorry, but I,ll have to count myself as one who believes in investing in space. Now, the argument is that there are formidable problems that require more immediate attention on Earth, to which I say that most (all) are caused by people. So being the pragmatic kind of guy that I am, the solution is obviously to simply eliminate 98.9% of the people. I estimate this number through my own mathematical computations based upon a lifetime at the movies and the percentage of those I wouldn’t want sitting behind me at a matinee. Ah science.
    – C.K. Reptilicus-Asquith

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I always enjoy a scientifically-researched argument, Chandler. And we both know that the cinema is the best place to discover the truth. 🙂
      Best wishes, Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov.

      Like

  7. I totally agree with you Pete. And it beggars belief that countries like India and China have space programmes when they have slums and millions of people living in poverty. What is wrong with those who govern our countries?

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Interestingly enough, as I understand it, the attempt to get some sort of image is an attempt to teat Einstine”s General Theory of Relativity. So far the theory has held up. Indeed, the first test of Einstein’s Relativity was made by a photograph during an eclipse. That photograph proved gravity bent light, Now, I am not up on what this one is supposed to verify, but I rather suspect it is something as important to the theory. Looking at it another way, spending all that money to keep a few hundred people busy, people who, by the way, are smart enough to come up with malicious things were they not busy, may be money well spent. Just a thought.
    Warmest regards, Theo

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Well obviously on this blog once again I am in the minority. It will amuse you no end that I receive ISS notifications so I can go outside and watch it as it soars over. Without it we’d have no observations of out little dust speck of a planet… somehow this is important to me, but as I say I am persona non grata here I suppose.

    But wouldn’t it be painfully boring if we all thought, felt and believed the same…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You may be a minority on today’s post, Edith, but I suspect you are in the majority where ‘space excitement’ is concerned. Most people I know are fascinated by the idea of space travel, and life on other planets. At one time in my youth, I expected to be making holiday trips to the Moon, or beyond. But nothing ever really progresses, despite the money spent. And going back to something already done, as in another Moon landing, just to say that they put a woman on the Moon? That’s sheer vanity. 🙂
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. We lived for a short time near Cape Canaveral when I was in grade school. I remember so well, the teachers taking the class outside to see the launches in the 60’s. It was fascinating to me. I always imagined it might be the pursuit of many mathematicians and scientists — a place to study and use their education that was not focused on advancing military prowess.

    I have vivid memories of my mother being so disgusted with the minute-by-minute recounting of an astronaut’s day as they ate or had a bowel-movement. She was not a fan even back then.

    The whole purpose of space exploration has always felt a little apocalyptic. In 1983 when Reagan pushed for his SDI ‘Star Wars’ program to the idiocy of today’s Space Force, it is no wonder we continue to hate one another.

    Our healthcare is a horrible mess, but our politicians have proven incapable of developing a system that works, no matter the cost.

    Thanks for letting me ramble, Pete. Did not mean to take your post hostage.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. How true – anyone could have made that picture on their home computer with a bit of digital manipulation. A radio presenter had the best remarks when she said to ‘ a scientist ‘ – What actually is the point, aren’t we just discovering how little we understand? The best thing to come out of space travel is the view of earth and the International Space Station – a model of human coperation so far…, but anything much beyond that is pointless. The big miracle is that the universe or multiple universes are vast beyond our comprehension – we can all cope with a solar system, but not with the infinite!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The WP ‘Insights’ tell me these numbers, Alex.
      Wordpress.com followers. 3922
      Email only followers. 37
      Social Media followers. 191
      That comes to a total of 4150

      I would say that only around 10% of those followers actually follow and read on a regular basis. But that’s fine by me. 🙂
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Like

    1. Thanks, FR. The Americans are planning another Moon landing, so they can send the first woman on to the Moon. $17 BILLION spent so far, and more to come. This is a country that fails to provide basic health care for most of its inhabitants. Appalling.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 3 people

All comments welcome

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.