Re: History of the Universe Scaled Down to 1 Year
The vastness of space is very hard to get a grip on. The distances are too big to fully appreciate. About a year or two ago I worked out the dimensions of a scale model of the solar system to put things into perspective for some students. Scaling the Sun to 6' (height of person) in diameter, the other planet diameters and their distances to the Sun work out as shown below.
So for example, in this model Jupiter would be 7.4" in diameter and would be 1118 yards from the Sun.
Alpha Centauri is the closest star to our Sun.
Epsilon Eridani is the closest known star with a planet of its own.
Gliese 581 is the closest known star with a planet in the habitable zone.
As you can see, it is highly unlikely that we will ever physically venture outside of our own solar system, let alone cross the emptiness of space to a planet in another system. The distances are just too great. Likewise, it is highly unlikely that we are being (or ever will be) visited by beings from another world. As Bill Bryson put it, why would they travel the incredible vastness of space just to plant crop circles in Devonshire or scare the wits out of some guy on a lonely road in Arizona?