Andromeda Galaxy Up Close

andromeda-section-hubble

This image, captured by the Hubble Space Telescope, is the largest and sharpest ever taken of the Andromeda galaxy.

The full image contains 1.5 billion pixels and would span more than 600 HD television screens.

Take a look at the close-up below, represented by the white rectangle shown in the inset:

andromeda galaxy sharpest view ever

I recommend to treat yourself to a full tour of the Hubble image via a zoom tool.

Astronomers estimate that the Andromeda galaxy contains about a trillion stars, at least twice the amount of our own Milky Way. Here’s a full view (low resolution) of our nearest galactic neighbor, 2.5 million light years from Earth.

andromeda-galaxy

Earth’s Near Future

Things are about to get very interesting on our planet.

We are entering an era of true scientific wonder.

It’s the dawning of the Nano Age, which we are quickly entering, eyes closed, for better and for worse.

The better part:

  • microscopic, cancer-killing robots that roam the bloodstream
  • bionic limb technology that enables the paralyzed to regain muscle control
  • retinal displays — imagine a computer screen embedded in your contact lenses
  • space elevators
  • massive-scale harvesting of solar energy in space
  • wireless electricity and self-powering devices
  • robots that can perform human tasks

The worse part:

  • robots that can perform human tasks (how will people make a living?)
  • insect-sized video surveillance robots that roam the planet incognito
  • virtual-reality addicts — distracted living will be a big problem
  • toxic nanoparticles that pollute our air, our homes, our water supplies
  • military applications of nanotechnology — invisible weaponry

The part I’m not sure about yet:

  • brain-to-machine interfaces that will enable us to thought-command our devices
  • artificial intelligence
  • digitized brains into which knowledge and memories can be uploaded or downloaded
  • cheap, mass-scale molecular manufacturing will set off economic upheavals locally and globally
  • ubiquitous computing

UBIQUITOUS means everywhere at once. As the computer chip shrinks to the size of a dust speck, we won’t resist the temptation to computerize everything imaginable — our clothing, our cities, our food packaging, our brains. They will all be networked via the cloud. Every part of our lives will be vulnerable to cyber attacks and malfunctions.

Earth needs, more than ever in our history, legions of ethical nanotechnology researchers, scientists, inventors and innovators. We need smart and wise ones who will intelligently guide the development of nanotechnology, as unwieldy a beast as it will prove to be.

The Nano Age

nanogear

An invisible nanogear. Each dot you see is an atom.

Ready or not, the Nano Age is here.

Nanotechnology is about to touch and transform every facet of our lives with enormous impact and consequence. It is said that our dawning Nano Age will outshine steel, plastic, and the silicon chip as transformative milestones in Earth’s long evolutionary adventure.

NANO means “one-billionth and refers to the increasingly microscopic scale at which our scientists can manipulate matter and energy. 3D printers are a macrocosmic equivalent of the atom-by-atom production of matter that nanoscientists are now perfecting.

The Nano Age will bring us (for better and for worse):

Where in the Universe Are We?

My fascination with scale and the the enormity of the universe led me to find this wonderful map made by Andrew Colvin. It shows a mere 150 million light-year-wide slice of the entire known universe — only a fraction of its total width of 13 billion light years.

I’ve taken Andrew’s map apart, section by section, to give you a view of this little sliver of the universe where our solar system is nestled. I hope you enjoy this tour of 150 million light years, which is 900 trillion miles wide!

Begin scrolling now to see the local supercluster (at the far right of Andrew’s map) and continue scrolling to narrow in on our own Milky Way galaxy and sun.

universe 150 million ly