The news related to finding water on Mars made me jump with joy like a Kid.
Yes i belong to the generation which has grown up seeing the Terminator and Star Wars. Though it still might be distant future but the whole idea of space travel sends a wave of excitement through my spine.
Finding flowing salt water on mars might not be that great a deal as it sounds, but it still a great deal, for now atleast. You will realise it too by the end of this blog.
I strongly suspect that we are definitely not alone in the universe. Are we ?
But first lets logically analyse what is the probability of reciving guests from other planets or galaxies.
So putting things in prospective. We are on planet earth which has a circumference of 40,075 km. Just one of the eight planets orbiting the Sun, our star which is just one of the 250 BILLION stars( by average mass) in our galaxy the milkyway.
The closest star to the sun is Alpha Centaury, which is 4 light years away.
Our galaxy has a span of 1,00,000 light years, ie even if we travell with the speed of light it will take us 1 lakh years just to cross our galaxy end to end, forget about reaching another galaxy.
Andromeda, the closest galaxy to us is at a distance of 2.5 Million light years from us. So if you are expecting any one from there,
any time soon you should sure hope as hell that they either started their journey 2.5 Million years back or they have the tech to travell real fast, as in ; even faster than the speed of light.
But thats not all, we have barely stepped out of our backyard. The real journey starts from here.
GALAXY GROUP. A Group of Galaxies, form a Galaxy Group/ LOCAL GROUP. A galaxy gp could contain about 50 galaxies with a span of 10 million light years.
CLUSTER. A bunch of such gps of gallaxies say 50- 1000 galaxies forms a Cluster of Galaxies. With a diameter of about 10 megaparsecsie (32.6 million light years, one parsec = 3.26 lightyears)
SUPER CLUSTER A larger gp of local clusters forms a Super cluster with a span of 500 Million light years. That by the way is huge.
GALACTIC SUPER CLUSTER This is basically all that we have mapped so far. The universe as we know it!.
So to summarise all this
Our galaxy -1 lakh light years across.
Nearest galaxy -2.5 Million light years away
Local cluster – 10 million LY span
Cluster – 33 million light years span
Super Cluster – 500 million LY Span.
Well thats a lot of – Space… to travell to get to us or for us to get going.
But lets not get disheartened. There is a lot happening in our neighbourhood. Our own solar system is bubling with activity be it on Mars or Jupiter’s volcanically active moon IO or saturn’s nitrogen based titan and Enceladus which is suspected to have a liquid ocean underneath its surface or be it Europa. The possiblities are endless.
Mars is just the beginning. The universe is coming to us…