In this rare image taken on July 19, 2013, the wide-angle camera on NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has captured Saturn’s rings and our planet Earth and its moon in the same frame.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
Space. It’s what we see when we go outside at night and look up. We see all these white sparkles in the sky and we have learned to call them stars. We gaze at them and think about how beautiful they are. Then we go back inside and watch TV. Nothing negative, that’s just what we do.
Today, I want to challenge you to see things from a different perspective. I’m going to challenge you to stop what you’re doing. Really, actually stop and pause. Now look at the above picture. That is a picture taken from a satellite that is 900 million, not thousand, miles away. Again, that’s 900 “million” miles away. This little spacecraft was launched in October 1997 and has been flying around taking various snapshots of our solar system. Many images have been taken from space, but there’s something special about this one.
The main object in the image is Saturn. You can see how big the planet is and how large the rings are that surround the planet. It’s absolutely beautiful. The spacecraft was orbiting the planet and taking some shots. Now, what I really want you to see is the little blue dot to the right of the center of the screen. I hope you were smiling when the picture was taken, because you’re in it. That’s earth from 900 million miles away. That little blue dot is our BIG planet.
I want us to stop and think about something here. Our solar system has nine planets. Earth is number three. Saturn is number six. Saturn is not even at the end of our solar system! There’s three more planets to go (if you count the planet pluto). Now think about this. Our galaxy is called the Milky Way. It holds our solar system with thousands of other solar systems. In fact, if you shrunk everything down to a size that we can fathom, it would go like this: Our solar system, with the nine planets, would be the size of a basketball; and our galaxy, the Milky Way, would be the size of earth.
Did you get that? Our galaxy is HUGE. It’s estimated that we have more than 200 billion Suns in our galaxy alone. Scientists have found more than 500 solar systems in our galaxy so far. That’s solar systems like ours. That’s only the ones they have found and that’s just nearby (if you can count that as nearby). In fact, scientists say that there may be tens of billions of solar systems in just our galaxy, maybe around 100 billion. This is just in our galaxy.
Now, are you ready for the next part? We know we have our solar system (our sun and nine planets). We know we have our galaxy, which is named the Milky Way, that has our solar system and most likely billions of other solar systems. Now guess how many galaxies there are in the universe as a whole?? A supercomputer tried to help us guess. It estimated around 500 billion galaxies. That’s billion with a B.
Now, from this we’re supposed to say that everything that happened was accidental. It just happened and we’re all here by chance. We formed from another animal and I guess we’ll form into something else down the road. Well I’m sorry, but the facts about our universe tell me otherwise.
“In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth…”