Astronomy is interesting to me, but not fascinating. I like to visit planetariums, and listen to the presentations, but I have never wanted to spend a lot of time looking through telescopes in the backyard. I have visited the Macdonald Observatory in West Texas several times, but those are huge telescopes.
Star Trek however was totally fascinating to me. I have seen every episode of the original series and still occasionally enjoy watching a rerun. I loved the concepts that Gene Roddenberry challenged the viewer with: The transporter, alien life forms, and parallel universes. Most of all the idea of warp speed intrigued me. To be able to travel many times the speed of light still sounds impossible to me.
Even though they could travel up to warp nine, that is nine times faster than the speed of light, the Enterprise never left our own galaxy. The Milky Way Galaxy alone would take years to travel through at the speed of light. As for reaching another galaxy, the distance is thought to be too great for humans to accomplish, even traveling at a high warp speed.
The vastness of space is mind boggling: Infinite is the word. I remember when I was about ten asking Dad what infinity was. “It just goes on and on and never ends,” he said.
At the McDonald Observatory, visitors are allowed to peer through about a half dozen rather large telescopes. The Visitors center also shows short movie presentations. On our last visit there was a brief film that tried to give us an idea of infinity. The movie was obviously a low budget production, but it sure intrigued me.
If you take a square meter, and expand to ten square meters, and then to 100 square meters, and on to 1000 square meters, that would be 10 to the third power ( ). If you or I represent that small one square meter, then the film showed just how small we would be from a thousand kilometers up in space. The moon is less than 400,000 kilometers away. Pictures of the earth from the moon show our planet as small from that distance. Of course, the earth would not be visible from , or 10,000,000,000 billion kilometers away. Astronomers guess the universe to be about kilometers in distance from the earth. The point is, which we all know, was that the universe goes a long way out, indefinitely. No big news flash there. But here is what interested me.
The film stopped at the outer reaches of the known universe, and then slowly backed up. Through many, many far away galaxies, then traversing lots of vast voids of space, re-entered the Milky Way Galaxy, eventually to our own solar system and back to earth. Then descended from the higher part of our atmosphere down to the surface of earth where that one person is resting on a blanket in a city park. Back to square one, or the square meter we began from.
Then the film takes you on a journey to go smaller, that is into the human body; Through the organs, and into the cells. You descend into mitochondria and into the cellular level. With the electron microscope we continue getting smaller and smaller, actually into the electrons and protons. I had cell biology in college, and I had microbiology. I guess what fascinated me was scientists can now go back to . Not quite as far as going to reach the outer expanse of space, but is getting pretty small. I’ll bet in time it gets smaller. Almost like a universe within each one of us.
At first I felt small and insignificant. However, as I pondered the reality that there is life at all levels within me, just like throughout the universe, I then felt a sense of purpose within God’s realm. Others may feel the immensity of the universe makes them doubt there is a Creator. On the contrary, that is opposite of what I felt. I feel God’s blueprint in creation.