As this week is themed around space, this is a good time to view a few images from the Hubble telescope and get inspiration. I thought of sharing a few facts which can inspire you...
1. Do you know that stars have a life? They are born out of a nebula (dust), and after gravity takes hold and ignites the star, it consumes its fuel over billions of years. Toward the end of its life as a star, depending on its mass, becomes a red-giant or super-giant. This then progresses to either a planetary nebula which evolves to a white/brown dwarf star, or a supernova which leaves behind either a neutron star, or a black hole, respectively! That process may take between a few hundreds of million years for the very massive stars to quite a few billion of years for the lighter ones. The Sun, our star, now nearly 5 billion years old, is in its good health, bringing its warmth and energy to us.
2. The nearest star to the sun is called Proxima Centauri at 4.2 light years away, which is the distance light has to travel for 4.2 years to reach us. This is equal to the distance of 40,000 billion km. This means that star light has travelled in space from far far away, and thus makes you travel back in time too, because what you see is in fact the light which was emitted a long time ago. Space and time are also very much connected, as Einstein demonstrated in his General Theory of Relativity. Time is usually considered as the 4th dimension which adds to the 3 space dimensions.
3. In the twin paradox, travelling in outer space makes your clock slow down, or putting it in simple terms it's like drinking water from the fountain of youth and thus will keep you younger than someone staying on Earth! The same as you get nearer to a black hole, assuming you can survive the extreme strong gravitational forces. There are a few tentative explanations to make it more easily understood, so have a look at Wikipedia for more specific details! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twin_paradox
4. 565 astronauts have flown in space, with 12 landing and walked on the Moon, while most of the others just orbiting the Earth. There are now plans to send astronauts to Mars, with the shortest return trip to Mars taking 6 to 7 years. A Mars mission is quite challenging and there are other ideas to reach Mars, such as to build a lunar base first, and then do the journey to Mars in steps.
5. Bellow are two examples of the beautiful pictures taken by space telescope Hubble. Last week, we celebrated it 30th anniversary. A true international programme, a great tool to advance science and a beautiful way to dream about the depth of the universe. The first picture is the Tapestry of Blazing Starbirth (https://spacetelescope.org/images/heic2007a/), with stars forming in the Large Magellan Cloud, and the second picture below is The Pillars of the Creation (https://spacetelescope.org/images/heic1501a/) in the Eagle Nebula. The image is even more impressive of the dust and gas because it is in visible light.