Scientists have recently announced that they have discovered a planet that has similar conditions to Earth. They believe that it has the appropriate weather conditions and could even have enough water to sustain life.
The only problem is it’s 4.5 light years away.
At 186,000 miles per second (the speed of light), that is 25,000,000,000,000 miles away from where you are standing right now . . . or 45,000,000,000,000 km’s.
To understand the extent of this in meaningful terms, you’d need to jump on the tip of a beam of light travelling at 1,120,000,000 km’s per hour (27 billion km’s per day) and sit there for 1,680 days.
I don’t know about you but my concept of impossibility probably burnt itself out within a few seconds!
The numbers are staggering. I had to run them a few times to ensure that I had all the zeros in the right place!
In order to interpret this in any meaningful time frame we would need to travel at least 800,000 faster than the speed of light. And then Einstein concluded that the speed of light was probably the fastest that could ever be achieved, claiming that time slows down as the speed of light is approached.
Put another way, this could mean that at 800,000 times faster than the speed of light it would put us well into the past, as one surged ahead of the light delivering the present. Would this mean going back in time?
Or, taking into account the theory of relativity, would it mean that moving closer to the speed of light, time becomes ‘squashed’ and what looks like 1680 days here, could be a mere few hours over ‘there’?
Again this is just theory. The truth remains hidden. Possibly the great Particle Collider in Geneva will throw some light (excuse the pun) on this intriguing topic.
In the meantime (excuse the pun) we trundle on with our mundane lives while the universe does its magic.
We embroil ourselves in our own relevance in a space where, as the numbers above show, we have no relevance whatsoever!