Get to know Grand Rapids (and the world)

Infinite, and I mean infinite, space

Today, I went on a little bit of a space jam.

Literally, I listened to some spacey shoegaze and read lists, infographics and articles about space all day. Space has been on my mind a lot since starting this project. And space is a topic a lot of people have strange thoughts on.

It started with a list about the most awe-inspiring Hubble photos. It then ventured on to this graphic, noting that the search for Earth-like planets has only stretched 1,500 light years away. That’s a tiny fraction of the Milky Way galaxy. The Milky Way is only a tiny fraction of the universe.

So how many Earth-like planets have they found in that fraction of a fraction? 700! Granted most of these are Jupiter or Super Jupiter-like planets, that’s a ridiculous amount of planets in a small sample size.

How can anyone say there’s no life outside of Earth?

For some perspective, here is a tiny section of the sky, a fraction of a very distant sky taken by the Hubble Space Telescope. Each one of those “stars” is a galaxy like the Milky Way! The Milky Way has an estimated 17 billion rocky planets, and hundreds of billions of planets in general! according to an article published in National Geographic on Jan. 7.

That’s an absurd amount of planets in the universe, if you want to try to do the math.

Does human life even matter? As Chris Andrus said the other day, “There’s nothing like looking at space to show you that getting a C+ on your math test doesn’t fucking matter.”

Jetson’s unrealistic portrayal of the future?

On my way to Lansing today, I listened to an All Things Considered segment on the Jetson’s 50th Anniversary, continuing my day of space.

First it introduced me to this awesome blog, Paleofuture, a Smithsonian blog that documents the future that never was in past fiction and popculture.

The founder of Paleofuture, Matt Novak, was the guest on All Things Considered talking about how people are disappointed that the Jetsons inaccurately predicted the future, but also documented the things we have and the technologies that we have that aren’t used the same way.

That seems odd to me, as Novak himself said he predicts the Jetsons takes place in 2062. So we’re already dismissing the Jetsons when we’re not even there.

In the 50 years since the original season of the Jetsons aired, how much as changed and been invented? Talk to my mom and dad who were 12 that year.

2012 is a completely different world than it was back then, and not even just technology-wise.

How much will change in the next 50 years? I’m not sure we can really say. And though I love Novak’s blog and his work, I think calling the Jetsons out is a little early.

Even if it was a cartoon and a parody of life in the 60s.

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