“Billions and Billions”
Floating at the edge of our solar system and facing the far reaches of open space, Dr. Allistair Richmond gazes out at the billions and billions of visible stars and planets…
The console *beeps* as the ship’s instruments have finished scanning the current quadrant, so the Doctor moves his spaceship less than 1/10000000 of a degree over to begin scanning the next quadrant, hoping for some sort of sign of the existence of intelligent alien life.
Despite the lack of evidence to support the claim, Dr. Richmond (and the fellow top scientists of the day) believe that intelligent life must exist out there— it’s simultaneously too mathematically improbable and mathematically depressing to believe otherwise.
But while the billions and billions of stars twinkle at him invitingly, the Doctor knows much of it is fool’s gold— many of these stars have faded away millions of years ago, and the immense vastness of the universe enables us to time travel each time we stare into space.
And that same vastness means we can only look at those faraway stars, as even the closest ones would take many lifetimes to reach. We’re anchored down by our technology, and our human bodies.
And perhaps any intelligent life out there is also suffering from the same limitations… maybe they’re tucked away in their own corner of the universe, behind the billions and billions of stars we can actually see. Maybe we’re all simply stuck where we are.
Everything is just too damn far away. For now, at least.
So, as the ship’s console beeps again, all the Doctor can do is move his ship less than 1/10000000 of a degree over to scan even more billions and billions of stars, and continue to hope for a sign.
Originally Posted 3/1/2012
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