Thursday, August 27, 2015

More Than 35 Trillion Miles and Counting...

An artist's concept of the Gliese 581 star system.

Six Light-Years... That’s how far the Hello From Earth message has traveled since being transmitted from a giant NASA antenna in Australia to the exoplanet Gliese 581d (whose existence was in doubt until earlier this year) more than half a decade ago today. As of 7 PM California time tonight (12 PM Sydney time on Friday, August 28), the radio signal containing 25,878 goodwill text messages—including one by me—will have ventured across approximately 35.3 trillion miles (57 trillion kilometers) of deep space...which, as stated at the very start of this Blog entry, equals a distance of six light-years. The signal, despite traveling 186,000 miles per second (or 671 million miles per hour, or um, 1 billion kilometers per hour), will still take 14 years to reach the Gliese 581 star system. Woohoo.

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