The process of envisioning the grand state and size of the universe is in fact an ancient practise that yogi's and monks would meditate upon: visualizing themselves shrinking to the quantum level and then expanding to the depths of the cosmos and beyond. This hermetic technique can also be useful when life's daily grind gets you down! When you get to the farthest point of the universe from where you are at the moment and you ponder the size of our planet and then yourself, the argument that you just had doesn't sting so much anymore. In order to grasp or conceive of the size of the universe, I started to explore some scientific articles. I then came across information on the estimated size of the known universe, which then led to data on the probability of communicating and sending information to other galaxies.

The intriguing book "Year Million: Science at the Far Edge of Knowledge" is filled with the thoughts of some well respected science writers and scientists where they look into the future and tell a story about the future fate of the human and/or extraterrestrial galaxy. One of the passages captured my attention in a Steve Job kind of way :) "Over the next million years, a descendant of the Internet will maintain contact with inhabited planets throughout our galaxy and begin to spread out into the larger universe, linking up countless new or existing civilizations into the Universenet, a network of ultimate intelligence." Amara D. Angelica takes it one step further: "The Interplanetary Internet (IPI) should allow NASA to link up the Internets of Earth, spacecraft, and eventually Moon, Mars, and beyond. By the Year Million, billions of “smart dust” sensors will be connected to a distant descendant of the IPI, exchanging data in real time or via store-and-forward protocol or wireless mesh (a network that handles many-to-many connections and is capable of dynamically updating and optimizing these connections), on planets and in spacecraft. Meanwhile, one important near-future use will be for tracking asteroids, comets, and space junk, exchanging three-dimensional position location and time data (similar to GPS on Earth) via multiple hops between sensors. Once affordable personal space travel is available, the IPI could serve as the core of an interplanetary version of air traffic control. The IPI scheme could also become the standard communications protocol as we expand out beyond the solar system’s planets, and then beyond the stars and to other galaxies. We could start with possibly habitable planets beyond the solar system, such as Gliese 581d, the third planet of the red dwarf star Gliese 581 (about twenty light-years away from Earth), if we detect signs of intelligent life there."

Although communication outside our galaxy is an exciting prospect, we may also want to focus on our communication with one another and country to country as we all could improve in this area! :)

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