I remember the first time I realized how big this whole fucking thing is. By whole fucking thing, I mean the galaxy. The idea to the 5-year-old me that there was space and once you die you don't come back was paralyzing. Since then, I haven't been able to shake it. I guess that's part of the reason why they say it's so hard to grow up.
What I didn't realize at 5 was that as science evolved, what was discovered would only make my existence feel more insignificant. For example, NASA just found there are 300 million habitable planets within our galaxy:
SOURCE-Following a nine-year mission that ended in 2018 when it ran out of fuel, NASA's Kepler Space Telescope identified approximately 300 million planets that could be habitable within the Milky Way.
That is almost as many people there are in America. Do you know how many fucking people there are here? Outside of our atmosphere, there are almost that many planets. Meanwhile, I'm stressing over god knows what that is quite literally a grand of sand in this galaxies history.
An updated analysis, which was first printed in the Astronomical Journal, attempted to put into perspective how many of these places could sustain life. Putting forth what was deemed a "conservative" estimate, researchers think at least half of the sun-like stars could have planets with water. Another estimate, this one deemed more optimistic, said that as many as 75 percent of planets could meet the same standard.
There are other people out there? Are they as fucked up as we are? Do they have as many problems?
On NASA's website, lead study author Steve Bryson put out a statement that should make it easy to understand why this is significant.
“Kepler already told us there were billions of planets, but now we know a good chunk of those planets might be rocky and habitable,” Bryson said. “Though this result is far from a final value, and water on a planet’s surface is only one of many factors to support life, it’s extremely exciting that we calculated [that] these worlds are this common with such high confidence and precision.”
Maybe this is only significant to my small brain? Hopefully, there are enough people out there with small brains for this to be significant to too?