The Dim-Post

August 25, 2016


Filed under: Uncategorized — danylmc @ 10:23 am

From an excellent New Yorker article about the exoplanet detected in Proxima Centauri:

In the coming decades, we will discover exoplanets by the tens of thousands and will come to know them, from afar, in intimate detail. Yet the nearest one is an eighty-thousand-year drive away. Whatever Proxima b is like today—that is, 4.3 years ago—it’s likely to be vastly different eighty thousand years from now. In fact, it wouldn’t even be there by the time we arrived. Stars wander ever so slightly, and the cosmos as a whole is expanding; in the next eighty thousand years, Proxima Centauri and its planet will have moved two light-years farther from Earth, adding another forty thousand years to the trip.

Also, probably unrelated but I came across this Reinhold Niebuhr quote in my reading the other day:

The will-to-power uses reason as kings used courtiers and chaplins to add grace to their enterprise.



  1. When we discover an exo-planet with obvious atmospheric signs of civilisation then if it is within reasonable range (i.e. a probe travelling at a significant fraction of the speed of light can get there and send back a signal in a century or two) we’ll build and send as fast a probe as we devise in order to take a closer look.

    Because that is what humans are. Above everything else we are all about being nosy.

    Comment by Sanctuary — August 25, 2016 @ 10:58 am

  2. Just did a Google on how far in kms a light year is. 9,460,528,400,000 kms. We ain’t going anywhere!

    Comment by Stephen — August 25, 2016 @ 12:04 pm

  3. This is not correct. The universe is expanding as a whole, but our galaxy isn’t, at least not in that sense. Proxima B will shift around a little relative to our position as the whole galaxy rotates, but not to that extent.

    The hard part isn’t necessarily getting there – its slowing down on arrival. We couldn’t put a probe into orbit round Pluto – it shot straight past.

    Comment by Adrian — August 25, 2016 @ 12:31 pm

  4. The sad thing is, The speed of light is just a snails pace.

    Comment by bosun — August 25, 2016 @ 12:35 pm

  5. Socialists/liberals/progressives tsk whenever a rich person buys a new car “what about child poverty”.
    Whenever the government sends a probe to Mars, or funds a study into the feminist perspective on physics, some people tsk “what about child poverty”.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — August 25, 2016 @ 1:39 pm

  6. Or spends $200 million over the last 4 years on High Performance Sport, so that we can get all nationalistic over gold and silver medals…

    Sorry, I know that the Olympics are all about sport, really. It’s just odd that, on the LPGA, Lydia Ko is Lydia Ko, but at the Olympics, “New Zealand” won the silver medal.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — August 25, 2016 @ 1:43 pm

  7. Has the government announced we are sending a probe to Mars? Yet another symptom of third-termitis.

    Comment by Adrian — August 25, 2016 @ 1:51 pm

  8. Well all the UFO sightings have largely disappeared – the well documented ones. So whoever was here has gone home.
    Of course they were never here anyway but digital means of keeping track of the skies- weather radar- or keeping track at your local paddocks – smart phones- now means we can be more certain

    Comment by ghostwhowalksnz — August 25, 2016 @ 2:11 pm

  9. Well all the UFO sightings have largely disappeared.

    That’s because they’ve established their subterranean bases, you poor sap.
    Phase 4 bodysnatching is well in progress. Haven’t you seen Patrick Gower?!

    Comment by Gregor W — August 25, 2016 @ 3:52 pm

  10. Haven’t you seen Patrick Gower?!

    Love the scene in Men in Black when it is revealed that the most accurate media coverage of UFOs and creatures from outer space is by the US supermarket tabloids. Patrick Gower does bear a strong resemblance……..

    Comment by Tinakori — August 25, 2016 @ 3:57 pm

  11. I nerd out when I read news like this. Probably because I’ve been watching Neil deGrasse Tyson’s update of “Cosmos” on Netflix – brilliant. I know it’s cooler to be cynical but I’m excited about what we’re going to discover over the next 50 years while I’m alive. (As long as climate change and/or Trump doesn’t screw things up for us all first.)

    Comment by Seb Rattansen — August 26, 2016 @ 8:10 am

  12. thanks for the tip I just watched a doco about Keith Richards on Netflix. Now, he really is on another planet…

    Comment by leeharmanclark — August 26, 2016 @ 9:32 am

  13. When it comes to the space race, cynical == realistic. The thing we still most need is information and the means to that is bigger and better telescopes, which are well within our power to build. The processing power and storage for what they’re capturing is an ongoing need, too, although it seems well in hand. When it comes to sending things up into space, we really want to have a very good reason. Hence it begins with the telescopes!

    Comment by Ben Wilson — August 26, 2016 @ 9:48 am

  14. “The thing we still most need is information and the means to that is bigger and better telescopes” Science industrial complex alert! Is what happens on other planets really as important as funding decent police force, roads, schools, housing? Sure, I know NZ doesn’t spend a lot on space exploration, but perhaps “High Performance Sport NZ” is OUR space race. Just look at how uncomfortable (read, angry) you all were at taxpayers money being used to part-fund the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

    Comment by Clunking Fist — August 28, 2016 @ 2:59 pm

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