Thursday, October 27, 2011

Watching the Universe Expand

They say the universe is expanding, faster than we ever imagined possible; so fast, in fact, that the end will come with planet-sized cubes of ice and the simultaneous explosions of a thousand million unopened cans of soda. My aunt told me that she plans to dress in layers. It's a rushing train, speeding by us at the speed of sound, at the speed of light, at the speed of time.

I don't plan to miss the show. One day I will be writing to you from the window of a space ship, or from a space suit on the moon. Of course, in order to accomplish this, I either need to acquire a lot of money in a short period of time, or wait until you are all up there with me, until outer space is next best vacation spot. So for now I will watch from my living room as one star floats by at a time.

Today I saw a "huge 'waterworld' [that] has boiling oceans hundreds of times as deep as Earth's"*. A world where one year lasts only eighteen hours, a world in which water exists in a confused state of vapor and liquid, and makes up 20% of the mass of the planet. A world in a family of five, orbiting 55 Cancri A, 40 light years from Earth. Another planet, another beautiful, unreachable world. And when the universe explodes, it will rain water in some confused state, but by the time it reaches me, only shards of ice will remain.

*Slack, Chris. "Huge 'waterworld' has boiling oceans hundreds of times as deep as Earth's". DailyMail 10/26/2011. Web 27 October 2011.

*"Giant waterworld confirmed around naked eye star". MIT 10/26/2011. technologyreview. Web. 10/27/2011.

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