TESS Has Reached Orbit

TESS, NASA’s new space telescope for detecting planetary transit events was successfully launched by a SpaceX Falcon9 rocket today, with the first stage successfully landing on its recovery barge for re-use.

Everyone familiar with FtB should also be familiar with Kepler, both the rabble-rousing white dude and the chrome-hot, super-cool, USD $700 million, solar powered camera. Kepler was initially expected to generate data for no more than 3.5 years, though it has exceeded that by a wide margin despite failures to its gyroscopic stability controls that were originally thought mandatory to complete the mission. It is true, however, that the mission’s data collection is much slower now.

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The Purpose of the Universe

Let’s get one thing straight right now: The purpose of the universe cannot be to supply a place for human beings.

If your church wants to claim that there are intelligent, civilized, religious (and ensouled!) space aliens out there every 8-10 planets or so, the purpose of the universe being to house ensouled religious beings is still pretty stupid. Remember that the background energy of each unit of space is non-zero. The universe is positively awash in energy.

We might consider an intergalactic cubic meter to contain a small amount of energy compared to our energy-dense planets and sun, but the sheer number of cubic meters of intergalactic space is impossible for a human to truly comprehend. We can look at a large number written in exponential notation and declare it larger or smaller than some other large number. We can plug the number into this calculation or that, but there’s no way for a human being to comprehend the number itself.

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