Sunday, May 08, 2005

The Seemingly Wasteful Universe

As a person with broad interests, astronomy fascinates me. Yet, I can't help thinking just how wasteful the universe seems to me. I am not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, so I am not advocating doing away with distant starts, galaxies, and other objects if doing so would in any way compromise the earth. As a matter of fact, it is probably a good thing that all this material exists. There is just a lingering element of greed within me that wishes that more of the materials out there would be available for use on earth.

There is probably no way around earth being a small part of our solar system. It is clear that we need to sun to survive--both for the energy it radiates and for its gravitational attraction. As I understand it, the moon stabilizes the earth, so that is probably a worthwhile expenditure, too. Life on Jupiter is believed to protect earth by intercepting incoming certain incoming comets and other destructive rocks. Of all the sun's satellites, Jupiter makes up the largest share, and it is probably a good idea to have Saturn as a backup. I have a special fondness for Pluto, but that planet and Mercury aren't great excesses. Perhaps there is some use for Venus, too. I am less sure about Uranus and Neptune. Neptune reportedly serves a purpose in setting the orbit of Pluto, but it is a rather large asset to devote to this purpose.

The greatest "waste" is probably clearly outside our solar system. And, of course, there is the possibility that other material out there provides valuable support for life elsewhere.