I don’t know how many planets have already been discovered in the Milky Way. Probably a few thousand. It is known that there are billions of them. Sensational information about the discovery of another “second Earth” regularly appears on the front pages of the media, which is supposed to suggest that somewhere in space there are other places we could colonize, where we could live. The detected planets are so far away from their stars that they can have water on their surface, which also means that the temperature there is relatively mild. The mass of these planets is relatively little different from the mass of the Earth, which causes that the gravity there is so similar to that of the Earth that it would be possible to function there that preserving our earthly bodies. Some already see a place for colonization there, considering how we should treat local living creatures and whether we will distinguish animal from plant, or intelligent from unintelligent.
In all of this, journalists who write about it and consumers of popular science novelties miss out on basic details. It must be said clearly and unequivocally that the laws of nature are inexorable.
Get my head on it …
Hardly anyone understands the laws of physics. This is because they are counterintuitive and the vast majority of them are even contrary to everyday experience. For example, contrary to Galileo, heavy objects fall faster than light objects, and as a live one no one, ever and nowhere in life, has seen uniform motion from Newton’s first law of motion.
Our mind is also designed to operate in a world of close range, which can be divided into “fist / baton”, “slingshot / bow / javelin” and “far”. Talking about “light years” is as abstract to most audiences in Europe, even those with higher education and PhDs, as explaining Earth’s distance to the Sun and Moon to an Amazon Indian who has never been across the river.
The problem is that for the Indian, the Moon and the Sun are just as far away in the sky, for a well-educated European, the “sister” planet of the Earth, YOU 700 d it is a little further than Mars or Neptune, but still relatively close. And such an educated European most often has an idea of the proportions in distances in space built on the basis of drawings representing the solar system, such as the one above.
It is impossible to present the Solar System on a drawing, on a computer screen, in the right proportions, and at the same time with the possibility of covering everything at a glance. For example, in the figure above, Neptune (the blue one on the right) in this proportional graphic representation should be a good few hundred meters to the right of the screen on which you are reading this. And of course it should be four times the size of the Earth, and it is represented practically the same size.
For example, below is a mapping of LESS MORE true size and distance proportions of the Moon and Earth.
So there is no way to really know what it is like with these distances, and they are literally unimaginable.
Our closest star, Proxima Centauri, is 4.5 light-years from Earth. This means a distance such that if the Sun were the size of a ping-pong ball with a diameter of 2 cm, and we placed it in the center of Warsaw under the Palace of Culture, Proxima, if proportioned, would be somewhere on the Moon’s surface. I write about it in the article on proportions.
Let’s try to dream
Other planets, even the “close” ones, are VERY far from us. “Sister” YOU 700 d is 100 light years away from us. So let’s imagine that we would like to go there to colonize it. Here is a logical scenario of what we would have to do:
- Send a probe over there.
- Put it in orbit YOU 700 d.
- Explore the planet, preferably landing on its surface.
- Send all information back to Earth.
- Prepare a spaceship that would go there.
- Get to the system YOU 700.
- Go into orbit YOU 700 d.
- Land, settle.
Let’s put aside for a moment the fact that we have no idea today for a feasible spacecraft that could make such a journey (even without humans), and we have no devices that could fly as a probe to complete task no. 1.
A poll that would fly on YOU 700 d it would have to be a device with very advanced artificial intelligence. Large Artificial Intelligence, which I have already written about. We don’t have anything like that yet, we only have devices with Little Artificial Intelligence and it is not known when the DSI will be created. But suppose the DSI exists.
In order for a flight of 100 light years (ie “very close”) to make sense at all, it must be at the right speed. In order to reach this speed, you need to accelerate. Let’s assume that we have such a solution and we can send the probe in a spacecraft that will be able to have a constant acceleration of 10G, which is ten times greater than the acceleration of gravity. We can afford it, because there will be no people in the vehicle. Otherwise, such acceleration would cause their body weight to increase tenfold in the vehicle, which would be very uncomfortable.
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