Looking at the stars always makes me dream, as simply as I dream over the black dots representing towns and villages on a map. Why, I ask myself, shouldn’t the shining dots of the sky be as accessible as the black dots on the map of France? – Vincent Van Gogh
I came across this incredible photo montage (unless viewing this on a feed aggregate of some sort, you’ll have to click the more button, below, to see it) today, a shared item on my Google Reader feed (fitting, since I’m currently reading Dr. Carl Sagan’s Contact, a great book made into a wonderful film).
I did, previously, blog about a similar photo as one found in the montage, so let me just repeat what I said then:
This is a photo of a galaxy cluster. See all those swirly things? Those are galaxies. Entire galaxies. I stopped counting at twenty. Assuming they’ve all got two billion stars and sixteen billion planets, well, shit, that’s a lot of fucking stars and planets.
As David Morse’s character said in the movie Contact, “It’d be an awful waste of space if we’re alone out here.” (Paraphrased).
It’s kind of impossible, looking at that photo, to think only Earth developed sentient life. I mean, hell, we suspect there was simple life on Mars, and that’s our immediate neighbor. I think there are — or have been — civilizations considerably more advanced than ours. I don’t think it means that we’re being spied on or studied, and I don’t think it means that some sort of first contact will ever happen — it’s an awfully big universe, and with conventional technology, it would take one hundred and sixty-five thousand years to reach our nearest solar neighbor (Alpha Centauri).
Sadly, the photo has no real reference or attribution beyond this link (if you’re aware of that, please send me an email: malnurturedsnay AT gmail DOT com.)