Throw-forward Thursday: Where will we be in 100 billion years?

“It is always wise to look ahead, but difficult to look further than you can see.” -Winston Churchill

There's plenty to learn about, to see and to discover when we look out at the Universe today. From the leftover glow from the Big Bang in the microwave to the hundreds of billions of galaxies and the tremendous variety of stars in our galaxy and others, there's no shortage of mysteries to solve and curiosities to uncover.

Image credit: NASA, ESA, the GOODS team and M. Giavalisco (STScI). Image credit: NASA, ESA, the GOODS team and M. Giavalisco (STScI).

But what if we, instead, came about in this Universe 100 billion years from now? How would we perceive our Universe differently, and would we potentially reach different conclusions depending on what was (or wasn't) accessible to us?

Image credit: NASA / WMAP science team. Image credit: NASA / WMAP science team.

The differences are shocking, but maybe more shocking is what we'd conclude about our cosmic origins! Go read the whole thing.

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"It is always wise to look ahead, but difficult to look further than you can see." -Winston Churchill We've come a long way in this Universe. Over the past 13.7 billion years, we've formed the light elements out of a sea of protons and neutrons, cooled and expanded to form neutral atoms for the…
"We are not the same persons this year as last; nor are those we love. It is a happy chance if we, changing, continue to love a changed person." -W. Somerset Maugham After 13.8 billion years have gone by, you might not think that a year makes much of a difference. A year to the Universe is like 0.2…
"One sees qualities at a distance and defects at close range." -Victor Hugo A couple of weeks ago we took a look at the most distant galaxy (so far) in the known Universe, a galaxy so far away that it takes exclusively infrared observations from our most power space telescopes (Hubble and Spitzer)…
"For the first time we can learn about individual stars from near the beginning of time. There are surely many more out there." -Neil Gehrels We’ve come incredibly far in our quest to learn how the Universe came to be the way it is today. We can see out in space for tens of billions of light years…

This begs the question, what information have we already lost? While 100 billion years is immense, so is 13 billion years. If the astrophysicist of the future would draw different conclusions about our universe due to a lack of information, are we doing the same thing? And can we compensate for this? Are there things we shouldn't assume? How is Occam's razor cutting us?

By Tim Talbert (not verified) on 12 Jul 2014 #permalink

As usual, a wonderful presentation of what we know of our Universe.

I would ask, have you read Frederick Pohl's novel "The World at the End of Time"? If not I would recommend it to you and, if so, I would ask if the science involved holds up? Allowances being made for artistic purposes, of course.

Pohl belongs to the school of Golden Age sf writers that attempted to stay within a technologically extended science sphere. Not unlike Clarke and Asimov.

Anyway, it's a good yarn.

By Bill Wood (not verified) on 14 Jul 2014 #permalink

History is likely to repeat-given Mother Nature or Great Spirit does not take us out first-ready for another way to hold water please apply-maybe we will not have to deal with catheters after all. Be Blessed-SHALOM C. D.