Sabot L'ours (sabotlours) wrote,
Sabot L'ours
sabotlours

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Scale

I think of weird stuff when I go for my walks. There are numerous anthills along the roads I walk. I started thinking about the scale of life, scale meaning various sizes. How many living things are bigger than humans? Not too many, really, especially compared with the number of things that are smaller than us. I figured that a human is about 100x bigger than an ant. The distance I can travel in a second would probably take an ant a couple of minutes. If a human was to walk around the world at the equator, it would probably take that person about 2 years to do it. It would take that ant around 200 years to do it. So just to walk around the world would be an impossibility for an ant. For it to climb a 100' foot hill would be like a human climbing a 10,000' mountain.

So then I started thinking about space. I had just read that one of our space probes, probably Voyager, had just left the solar system. It was launched in the 1977 and is now in interstellar space. I realize the interstellar boundary is farther out, but the distance from the Sun to Pluto is 5.9E+09 km. It has taken 30 roughly years to travel that distance. A light year is roughly 9.46E+12 km. The closest star to the Earth is Alpha Centauri which is 4 light years away or 3.78E+13 km. So using today's technology it would take 192,000 years to reach the nearest star. It would probably be much longer since you would have to decelerate, something always overlooked in sci-fi stories. Heck, even if we could travel the speed of light, it would take 4 years to get there! I have to hand it to "Lost in Space." They chose the most logical star to which to travel.

So where am I going with this? Well, I always check out The Astronomy Picture of the Day. It has wonderful pictures of the beauty found in our universe. They always seem to talk glibly about how this galaxy is 100,000 light years from Earth or how this nebula is 5,000 light years across. When you stop to think about the distances they are talking about, you suddenly feel about as big as that ant.

I would also take it one step beyond and ask, "If the universe is so big, how big is God?"
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