I am sort of blown away by the news that the good folks who spend their days looking through telescopes have determined that there are approximatly 2 trillion galaxies in the universe, which is about 10 times more than we previously thought.
Helena’s first reaction was “How do they know that?” at which I laughed derisively until I realized that I don’t know, either, I’m just more inclined to believe really smart people on the subject of space, and less inclined to say, as she did “They’re just making it up.”
There are a couple of implications in this vast number. First, it definitely weights the old Drake equation in favor of intelligent life. So many galaxies, so many stars, so many planets, the number of planets in the universe is up in the gazillions or whatever there is beyond trillions. Bad news is, they’re all really, really far away. I am reminded of the opening sequence of Star Wars…a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, so far away the it is completely detached from our reality, and it is entirely conceivable that large numbers of multi-stellar civilizations have come into existence, and flamed or faded out, and we know nothing of them, nor they of each other.
Secondly, the current number of galaxies is so different than it was a week ago, and that in turn is so different than our thinking in 1930, before Edwin Hubble, that maybe the next discovery will be greater still. Who knows? It is my belief (and this is neither a product of scientific knowledge or msystical/religious belief, it is just a little thought experiment and it makes sense. The universe it infinite, both in space, in time, and in complecity.


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