If you haven't seen this visualization of space yet, you should. Click here for the large version -- don't look at the thumbnail. Even though stuff like this gets posted on the internet all the time, it continues to blow my mind. So if you've seen it already, let me remind you again of how insignificant you are. ;-)

The interesting part of about this picture is that it is billions of years old. The age of the universe is more than 13 billion years, but due to the expansion of space we are observing objects that are now considerably farther away. According to this Wikipedia article, the edge of the observable universe is now located about 46.5 billion light-years away. A lot might have changed in 13 billion years.

In other words, you better believe there are aliens out there.

Or as Douglas Adams put it in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: Space is big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-bogglingly big it is. I mean, you may think it is a long way down the road to the chemist's, but that is just peanuts to space.

Space
View large version. © unknown.

Comments

Eric Atkins (not verified):

And yet we are egotistical enough to think that we can change the climate of this planet which has existed for billions of years and thrived in much harsher times.

That kind of thinking will harm the planet and us more than act actions we could do to it.

Chris Johnson (not verified):

What does the universe and galactic size have to do with the ability of 6 billion people to effect atmospheric change on our tiny little planet?

Earth will survive with or without us -- so what? I'm worried about me, my family, my species and the flora and fauna I'm sharing the world with -- not whether the planet continues to exist.

This kind of lack of thinking -- and ignorance -- does the greater harm.

Bram (not verified):

It's good to put things into perspective every once in a while.

Matt Asay (not verified):

Funny how we see very different things in those images. I see a universe clearly created by the divine, and makes me feel very significant indeed. Other life out there? Almost certainly. But why would that necessarily mean that I, and you, are insignificant?

My firstborn didn't become less significant when we had three others. If anything, she became more so. Numbers don't make us insignificant. Only our actions can do that.

Philip Machanick (not verified):

Erik, humans haven't existed on this planet for billions of years. All we need to do is tweak conditions a little so the biosphere is no longer capable of supporting billions of humans, and we're in trouble. Big trouble. By our standards, not of a universe that is unimaginably huger than we are. No one is saying we will destroy our own planet, let alone the universe.

As for aliens: there's every chance that there is intelligent life out there but a very good chance that it's so far away, we'll never encounter it.

Amit Karpe (not verified):

Really interesting :)
Now we have to be very careful there should not be one more Big Bang !

develCuy (not verified):

Despite I don't agree with you on this part "The age of the universe is more than 13 billion years". I really like this: "So if you've seen it already, let me remind you again of how insignificant you are. ;-)", good for self reflexion :D Thank you!

spyderboy (not verified):

That kind of perspective makes me really enjoy the NOW. Since I am small and insignificant, I may as well have a good time!

Gerard McGarry (not verified):

I've seen that one before, and I always wonder how big a population you could have if you moved to Saturn. The new frontier, folks. Get yourselves across there before the landgrab begins in earnest!

pseudoscience (not verified):

There is nothing to be impressed in reality. All our universe is just a regular blood cell in a cow which lays on the ground and chewing its greens happily on another universe. Well, if you don't believe in me read the holly bible of sahink, the great lord. amin !

Anonymous (not verified):

This is so amazing! Thank you!

Bruce (not verified):

Though in size we may be insignificant. Our cognizance allows us to see this. Which fuels the fire of my belief that if we can get past our innate animalistic BS there is a long indefinite sweet journey in store for us.