Monday, March 6, 2017

Just Who is Trappist 1?

We may well ask the question, just who is Trappist One?  It could be the founding member of the Silent order of the Trappist monks but it isn't. No, Trappist is one of seven earth sized planets that have been discovered beyond our own galaxy and NASA astronomers are getting real excited about them.
"Why," say the learned star gazers," these planets are in the "Goldilocks" zone, they are not gaseous and they receive roughly the same amount of light as does planet Earth." Hence the excitement. One or more of these planets could be inhabited. Just think of that. "Why," they go on to say, "we human beings might have intelligent neighbours."
But, for mere mortals like you and me, this is where the excitement suddenly ends.
We now find out that our friendly neighbours are 40 light years away. Not the sort of place that we will be dropping in for a cup of tea any time soon. In fact, at the present speed of space travel the journey to see our cosmic friends would take 764,000 years!
Enough said.
With  a space exploration budget of several billion dollars each year, if this is the best that NASA can come up with, it might be better to put the money into getting to know our neighbours on earth.  Maybe to build a few bridges and pave a few roads to make it easier to visit the folks across town. Let's do that first and leave the aliens to Captain Kirk and Starship Enterprise.


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