With all that’s been going on in the world recently – the Monty Python First Farewell, the World Cup, my starring in an Anzac movie – you may have missed the other big event last Spring when the Kepler exoplanet, about the same size as Earth, was discovered. It’s only 500 light-years away, so any time now some entrepreneur will be selling tickets for the first flight to our twin planet.
We all know that light from the Sun takes fully eight minutes to reach us. The Sun is 150,000,000 kms from Earth. How long would it take us in existing spacecraft to get to Kepler ? The fastest would be Helios 2, which spent ten years (1976-1986) studying the Sun. It would take 2,130,000 years. Voyager, which recently exited the solar system, would take a little longer : 18,690,000 years. Apollo could never be commissioned for such a space trek. It took three days to get Neal on to the Moon in 1969. If it could, it would take, at 38,000 kms/hr, 14,000,000 years to take us to Kepler.
So maybe we should pin our hopes on Space Probe 2, which Nasa will launch in 2018 to explore the Sun’s crown. But even at 720,000 kms/hr it would take 750,000 years. I keep telling myself that Jesus (is said to have) lived just 2000 years ago. 750,000 years is a time-span beyond my imagination. I can however understand 750,000 euros. That, plus another million, is the asking price for my immediate neighbor’s house. Kepler 186 F and “Le Chistera”, the Basque name of the palace next door, are both out of my reach.
O.K. : I will make the connection for you. It’s pretty hard to believe that God made Kepler and put it way out there as a refuge for humanity when we destroy our own planet (what other possible purpose could it have ?) Even Mars, in our backyard, will probably never witness a small step or a giant leap for anybody before Armageddon. Sorry, but this is a blog about belief in God, not an astronomy manual. The more I discover about the Universe, the less I believe in a Creator. The heavens do not reveal His glory, just His non-existence.