Friday, May 29th, 2009

A tiny wobble reveals a massive planet – The Bad Astronomer

Stories like this are exciting and awe-inspiring (the newly discovered planet has six times the mass of Jupiter!) and humbling: the more we find out about the universe, the more diminished we seem as a species. We’re NOTHING, man.

But mostly, these stories depress the hell out of me. Because humanity will almost certainly never be able to travel the stars like we do in stories. The best we can hope for is some sort of world-ship. But who can even imagine building one of those for real?

And even if we one day manage to escape our solar system, I’ll not know about it. I’ll have long ago turned to dust by the time we get to a point (both technologically and socially) where that would be even remotely feasible.

So I can look at the amazing universe all around me. But I can’t touch.


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