Thursday, April 16, 2009

Truth Trip

Chicago O'Hare airport early in the morning.

"Ladies and Gentlemen, readers of this blog, welcome to the Truth Trip!

Captain Kirk and his crew welcome you to spaceship Enterprise. We are ready to take off. Please, fasten your seatbelts, lift the table in front of you to upright position and switch off your mobile phones and other electronic devices. "

The polite passenger sitting beside me does as told and wishes me a good trip. I do the same while looking through the window at the airplanes ready to take off. People busily going to their travel destinations some for business, others to meet their family, some beginning their vacation this morning. The engines of Enterprise start humming and softly we start to fly towards the cloudy sky. After some time the bell says that we are allowed to open the seatbelts and the crew is already preparing a breakfast to us.

The stewardess has a nice soft voice and she tells us "our spaceship can reach near the speed of light so at full speed we would reach the moon in a second. However, we will fly very slowly first to let you enjoy the view of planet Earth from above the atmosphere and we will make two rounds around the moon so that you can enjoy the magnificent sceneries there."

Planet Earth from space

Oh how beautiful our planet looks from the space! We are all gasping at the sight and aim our digital cameras trying to capture the sight while sipping our coffee and tea. The engines of Enterprise are humming more strongly now and from time to time they shake the ship when slowly accelerating.

We do the two rounds around moon without incidents and continue our trip past the red Mars where NASA robots are still exploring the soil and looking for signs of water. We pass the orbit of mighty Jupiter being careful not to get too near and have soon passed the 1.400.000.000 km distance to Saturn. Again we admire the fine rings shining like jewels in morning sun. I ask for some more coffee.

Planet earth photographed from a point near Saturn

The passenger sitting beside me seems to know things. "Can you see that little dot there through the window?" he asks me. That is our planet, Earth. After a while of trying I notice it thinking what a miserable little rock, third from Sun, it seems from out here. I shake his hand only now and introduce myself "Sir, my name is Mikko. Nice to meet you". He shakes my hand politely without saying a word, which is a bit strange.

"I am a Christian and this view makes me to wonder" I continue. "Is Jesus Christ just the Saviour of the human race living on that insignificant dot amidst this ocean of space and billions of suns? A very local fellow?"

My friend is quiet for a while and answers then "Yes. Well, I would not call humanity an insignificant race, each individual living there has a name and is known to our Father by name. But yes, we can say that the address is

"Jesus Christ
Planet Earth
3rd rock from Sun
Milkyway Galaxy"

for there is the earthly body of Christ, it is the congregation made of Christians like you. Of course, there is also the invisible congregation of people who have already died but that is a bit mysterious."

I say to him "well, according to what you say, and I believe it is Biblical truth, Christ is travelling in this spaceship in the hearts of His own. Also, we have these Bibles with us, the Word of God, so He is here with us." My friend nods silently, looking thoughtfully at that tiny dot which soon disappears.

Artist's view of Kuiper belt
The loudspeakers wake up as we are told "Please, fasten your seatbelts, we are going to pass the Kuiper belt and our crew may have to do some sudden moves to avoid the asteroids." We all obey after we see through the window what is ahead of us.

After some bumpy road the spaceship returns to normal flight and we relax on our seats. The tour guide explains "We are now accelerating up to the maximum speed of spaceship Enterprise, which is near the speed of light. Our next destination will be alfa Centaur, the very nearest star next to our Sun. This part of the trip will take four and half years so, please, feel free to use all the facilities we have arranged for your comfort and enjoyment during the trip.

Artist's view of alpha Centaur, the nearest star to our Sun

And so we see from near another sun with our own eyes. It does not have planets of its own and we steer far enough not to get too deep into its gravity field. To be honest, a star is a star and after over four years of space travel the impact of this star on us is not all that strong. We have got used to them. Some iglu-effect is taking toll on our mutual relationships, as can be expected.

Our Milky Way galaxy might look a bit like this from outer space
Sun would be in one of the spiral wings

The loudspeakers are alive again and tell us

"Ladies and gentlemen, we are now moving out to the last leg of our trip to visit the outskirts of our nearest galaxy, Andromeda. From there we will turn back and return home. Our trip to Andromeda will last about three million years so we will be back in Chicago O'Hara after six million years".

Andromeda, our nearest galaxy neighbour in the Local Group
You can see it with your binoculars
I turn towards my friend to tell him that isn't the current scientific view of evolution of human race saying that starting from our earliest known ancestors in Africa we have existed only five million years. But he had gone somewhere. Surely, there would be a chance to ask him later.

I knew that when we reach back to Chicago earth time would have passed six million years. Perhaps my friend could tell me, how old we would be while travelling for six million years near the speed of light.

Einstein had said something in his theory of relativity about the relationship between matter, space, movement and time but I cannot quite figure out the mathematics.

Can you?

Enterprise on the trip to outer space


It was pretty lonely up there.

Maybe my Jewish friend from New York whom I had learned to know on board noticed that I was a bit upset and he came to me and simply told me to read Psalm 139.

So I said a little prayer in my heart and opened my Bible.

And yes, that psalm definitely made me feel much less lonely.

O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me.

Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off.

Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways.

For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether.

Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me.

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.

Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?

If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.

If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;

Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.

If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me.

Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.

For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother's womb.

I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.

My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.

Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.

How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!

If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.

Surely thou wilt slay the wicked, O God: depart from me therefore, ye bloody men.

For they speak against thee wickedly, and thine enemies take thy name in vain.

Do not I hate them, O LORD, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee?

I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies.

Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:

And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Psalm 139 KJVA

.... UPDATE July 2 2012
You can easily make this trip using Celestia software and see an exceptional 3D model of Andromeda M31. But dping so may give you may give you a somewhat wrapped impression about the time it takes to get there!

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