The Importance of Extrasolar Planets

A picture of several potential habitable worlds in the universe

Extrasolar planets, often called exoplanets, are planets that exist in other solar systems other than our own. These planets are very hard to find and study because their light is fainter than the light given off by the stars which they orbit. In 1992, astronomers Aleksander Wolszczan and Dale Frail noticed several planets orbiting the pulsar PSR B1257+12. They only detected gas giants similar to Jupiter, leading to the hypothesis that gas giants are more common than terrestrial planets. This hypothesis has been disproven because of the fact that these gas planets were simply easier to detect because of their massive size.

Studying these extrasolar planets could bring us much more insight on how the Earth came to be and what changes we may potentially see in both our solar system and our planet. Perhaps there will even come a time where humanity will have to travel from one habitable planet to another every few millennia because of the limited timespan of habitability for each of these planets. I personally believe that for humanity to live forever, we will have to create a planet-like space ship that simply floats in space, away from stars, black holes, and anything else that may easily destroy the spaceship.

Who knows? There may even be a human-like creature on some of these planets out there in the universe that are writing a blog for their astronomy class and wondering if there are others like them out there.

Is Space Exploration a Good Idea?

Organisms called Tardigrade can survive the extreme radiation and vacuum of space

The coronavirus is now spreading across the globe and has been declared to be a pandemic. If a virus like this is so dangerous to humans, viruses that may exist somewhere else in the galaxy or universe would be so much worse… One day our sun will most likely grow to a red giant and engulf the closer terrestrial planets, so if humanity still exists by then, we would have to have traveled far off to another solar system, unless we would live on a spaceship that just drifts through space. Viruses are not living creatures so it is possible that the radiation or vacuum in space would not have an effect on them. There is also very little data on viruses in space but if it is on Earth, one can only imagine that they exist elsewhere too, maybe on comets, meteors, planets, and moons. This brings me to question whether humans should try to explore space right now, when we can barely deal with the coronavirus. I think that the lack of preparation against viruses will prove to be fatal to humanity and be the ultimate downfall of humanity.

Flying To Another Country is So Overrated – Let’s Go To Space!

Virgin Galactic’s Spaceship

We hear about space travel and imagine the possibility in the distant future. We would be able to ride a spaceship and experience zero gravity. But guess what? Space travel will come to fruition in our life times! Virgin Galactic Holdings Incorporated is the first public commercial space that is offering sub-orbital flights to individuals who can afford their hefty price tag of $250,000 per ticket. Although it is super expensive right now, as economies of scale occurs, the price tag is expected to drop, allowing for much more accessibility to their services! Sub-orbital flight isn’t exactly space travel, but it is a huge step forward in the space travel industry. Individuals will experience a 90 minute ride with several minutes of zero gravity. The mothership will carry the spaceship to around 50,000 feet in the air, where the spaceship will detach and fly, allowing passengers to experience close to zero gravity. It is very likely that we will get to experience space travel in our lifetimes and I can’t wait to experience zero gravity!

Virgin Galactic’s mothership

Is there such a thing as the present?

The Sombrero Galaxy, 25 million light years away. So this is what it looked like 25 million years ago… If we could teleport to this galaxy, we would see this same galaxy aged 25 million years.

Did you know that the speed of light is around 3.00 × 108 m/s? For now, it is believed that there is nothing faster than the speed of light, which is why large astronomical distances are often denoted by light-years, the distance that light can travel in a year.

If we were to see a galaxy that is 100 million light-years away, we would actually be seeing how the galaxy was a 100 million years ago. The light from the galaxy would be light that traveled from that galaxy 100 million years ago and just reached our eyes. So technically, we would be looking at the past. Right now, in this very moment, the galaxy that we see would actually be 100 million years older than how we see it.

So if this is true, then isn’t everything we see in the past? Even objects that are much closer than 100 million light-years away still have some distance from our eyes. The infinitesimal distance that the light has to travel from these objects to our eyes is still greater than 0, meaning that everything we see has already happened.

It’s quite depressing to think of how insignificant human lives are. We will learn nothing about changes in the universe because by the time the updated light reaches our planet, humanity will most likely have already gone extinct. All we can do is peer out into the vast universe and simply oooh and ahhh at the marvelous sight.

Max the Maltipoo :D

Photo taken by me, on my bed

Above is a picture of my dog, Max the Maltipoo, but I just call him Max. He is heckin cute.

He is currently 8 years old but turns 9 in April of 2020 :(. This probably means that he will probably die soon (apparently Maltipoos have an average lifespan of 12 years) so I am hoping to get a Husky, Golden Retriever, Malamute, Great Pyrenees, or some other large dog to fill the gaping black hole in my soul and heart. I really hope he has a painless death but if necessary I will make sure that I will be by his side when the veterinarian injects him with something to kill him peacefully. The look in his eyes as he realizes that I had a part in his death will haunt me for the rest of my life but it is something I must live with. It is possible that having another dog will cause me emotional pain so I may instead become one of those cat people you see on TV.

He has a really long pretty tail that shakes uncontrollably along with his butt, making him one of the cutest doggos in the world. For anyone who is unfamiliar with dog breeds, a Maltipoo is a mix breed of a Maltese and a Poodle. If you want to know more about Maltese or Poodles, click on their names and it will take you to their wikipedia page.

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