I am in love with the ocean. I am also terrified of the ocean. One day, Dave took me to the beach. Palaverous silvery-ash clouds masked the sun, and white capped waves rose up repeatedly and broke in white spatters of glistening wet. I skipped from one rounded rock to the next, carefully avoiding the seaweed and slippery green stuff. Then I saw a dead fish.
"Dave, look, it's a dead fish." I pointed.
Dave looked. "It's a shark."
"Flip it over!" This is one of those times when I get all smiley and excited.
He flipped it over. Definitely a shark.
Sharks are cool, but here's the thing: the ocean is big. 140 million square miles of water covers 71 percent of the surface of the Earth.* More than 230,000 categorized species inhabit the vast, stygian depths, including the 200 ton blue whale that glides surreptitiously through the waves, and the squat lobsters in which exist in the 360 degree hydrothermic vents.* When you're standing on the moon, that's what you see: the glinting blue peeking through the swirling white--
Imagine an ocean in space. An ocean of water vapor, 140 trillion times more water than all the water on Earth, floating in the deep, black abyss of space around a massive quasar 12 billion light years away.* If over 230,000 categorized species live in our ocean, how many could live in this space ocean?
230,000 species x 140,000,000,000,000 = 32,200,000,000,000,000 species.
That's a lot of fish.
The ocean is big. The space ocean is bigger. The universe is biggest, and in it are ever so many possibilities.
But I will still get excited over a dead shark. Even it if is only as big as my foot.
*"Blue Whale Interactive." National Geographic. http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/blue-whale-interactive/ Accessed 10/29/2011.
*"Creatures of the Deep Sea: Hydrothermal Vents". Sea and Sky. http://www.seasky.org/deep-sea/hydrothermal-vents.html Accessed 10/29/2011.
*Fazekas, Andrew. "Black hole hosts universe's most massive water cloud." National Geographic. 7/27/2011. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2011/07/110726-most-massive-water-cloud-quasar-black-hole-space-science/ Accessed 10/29/2011.
*"Interesting Ocean Facts." Savethesea.org. http://savethesea.org/STS%20ocean_facts.htm Accessed 10/29/2011.