This paper takes part in the series essay competition of “great science” of Recordunkown.
When humans walk out of the earth, the first thing that comes to our eyes is the solar system, a star system with eight planets. From the earth’s point of view, the solar system is undoubtedly a very vast space, including the Oort cloud, with a diameter of about 2 light-years.
But when we look out of the solar system, we see a galaxy with a diameter of more than 100000 light-years. In the silver system, there are 100-400 billion stars, and the solar system is just one of them, which is a very small existence.
From the perspective of the Milky way, the solar system is undoubtedly the same as dust. Through the observation of scientists, it is found that the position of the solar system in the Milky way is relatively remote. The solar system is a bar spiral galaxy with four main spiral arms. The solar system is on the edge of Orion’s spiral arms, about 26000 light-years away from the galactic center. It’s equivalent to the location of a suburban city. Many people may say that from the overall distribution of the Milky way, the solar system is not particularly remote from the galactic center. Why is it a barren place?
If only from the perspective of distance distribution, the solar system in the Milky way is not very remote, but if we stand at the perspective of star distribution, the solar system is really very remote. I believe many friends know that the central region of the galaxy is extremely bright. One reason for this is that there is a supermassive black hole in the center of the galaxy, and the other is that there are many stars in the Galactic region.
There are hundreds of billions of stars in the Milky way. The distribution of these stars is not uniform, but the closer they are to the silver center, the more stars there are. Almost 90% of the hundreds of billions of stars are concentrated in the center of the Milky way, and the distribution of stars is very small in the relatively partial position like the solar system. The nearest star system is about 4.2 light-years away.
So a friend had such a question: is it a good thing or a bad thing that human beings are in the remote and barren land of the galaxy? I believe some friends have read articles about this issue, and most of them think that it is a good thing that human beings are in a remote place in the galaxy. So is that really the case?
In fact, to solve this problem, we need to analyze it from different angles, and the answers are different from different angles. If we consider the livable evolution of life and the safety of human civilization, the present position of the solar system is undoubtedly very good. Why do we say that?
First of all, we all know that the star is not a gentle guy, it often loses temper, and the formation of life star is inseparable from the star. The sun has undoubtedly contributed a lot to the fact that the earth can become a planet of life and that life can evolve into intelligent life step by step.
The life of the earth and the fate of human beings are closely linked with the sun. It releases powerful energy, which maintains the ecological balance of the earth. Let life and human beings have a stable and safe living environment. Compared with stars, the earth is not a tiny existence, and life on earth is more fragile. As long as the sun sneezes, it may bring an unimaginable disaster to the earth, or even make life completely extinct.
The solar system is not a galaxy composed of stars, sun and eight planets. Besides the eight planets, there are a large number of asteroids and other small objects. There are three small objects gathering areas in the solar system from the inside to the outside, namely the asteroid belt, the Kuiper belt and the Ott nebula. Under normal circumstances, the sun’s gravity can firmly bind these small objects, so that they will not easily run around.
But if the solar system is closer to the center of the Milky way, the number of stars around the solar system will increase greatly. At this time, the gravity of other stars will affect the stability of the solar system. These small bodies are not as quiet as they are now. Instead, they often deviate from their orbit and rush to the inner galaxy, resulting in a substantial increase in the probability of the earth being hit by an asteroid.
Asteroid impact has a great impact on the earth’s ecology and life, and it is easy to cause mass extinction. If mass extinctions occur frequently on the earth, the evolution of life will be greatly affected. Even if human beings are born, the road of development will be full of frustrations.
In addition to these, the earth’s remote location has another advantage, that is, it is not easy to be discovered by alien civilizations. Although human beings have not found any extraterrestrial civilization up to now, from the perspective of the universe, there is no doubt about the existence of extraterrestrial civilization. It is only because of the backwardness of human science and technology and the distance that we have not found alien civilization.
If there are interstellar civilizations in the universe constantly searching for intelligent life planets, the focus should be on the regions with more stars, rather than the very remote regions such as the solar system. The alien civilization may not be friendly. If the earth is discovered by a malicious civilization, it may bring us devastating disaster.
From the above analysis, we can see that from the perspective of safety, it is a very good thing for the solar system to be on the edge of the galaxy. Here, we can develop more safely and stably, until one day we become an interstellar civilization, and then walk out of the solar system and move closer to the center of the galaxy.
In this case, it should be a great good thing that human beings are in the remote and barren land of the galaxy. What else can we discuss? If you think it’s all good, you’re wrong. Previously, we only analyzed it from the perspective of the earth and human security. This is indeed a good thing, but if we change our perspective, it may be a bad thing.
We will put the angle on the speed of human civilization development, and then do some simple analysis, you will understand. Some scientists once divided the strength of cosmic civilization into four levels. According to this level, human civilization is only level 0.7, not even level 1.
The continuous efforts of mankind are to strive for the continuous improvement of civilization level, because only when the civilization level is higher, can we explore the further starry sky and explore more mysteries. The upgrading of civilization level also means the upgrading of strength. Only in this way can we have more voice in the cosmic civilization and not be bullied by other civilizations.
If a civilization wants to achieve rapid development, it needs two conditions, one is the innovative scientific and technological theory, the other is to have sufficient resources and energy. No matter how powerful the theory is, without the support of resources and energy, it is just empty talk. To some extent, resources and energy are the basis for the rapid development of a civilization.
After entering the era of science and technology, human beings have been using the earth’s resources and energy, but with the rapid development of science and technology, the demand for resources is also increasing. After growing into a first-class civilization, we need to exploit space resources to meet the development of human science and technology, and the resources of the solar system can meet the needs of human first-class civilization.
However, when we become a second-class civilization, the demand for resources and energy will also increase exponentially. At this time, the resources of the solar system may not be able to meet us, and we need to explore resources outside the solar system. However, when we walk out of the solar system, we find that there are too few stars around, and the distance between the star systems is more than a few light years. In this way, the speed and efficiency of our resource exploitation will be greatly reduced.
Without sufficient resources, the development of human civilization will slow down significantly, which will seriously affect the upgrading of human civilization. If resources are sufficient, it will take 10000 years to upgrade from a second-class civilization to a third-class civilization, and resources are seriously slow, the time may be several times or even dozens of times longer.
Therefore, from the perspective of the development speed of human civilization, the position of the solar system is very bad. Once we grow into a second-class civilization, the development speed in the future may slow down seriously. The slow upgrading of human civilization is not a good thing for us, because the civilizations in the universe may not be so friendly and peaceful.
If the strength of human civilization does not work, it may become a stepping stone for others, or even be ended by a stronger civilization in the future. In the region closer to the galactic center, resources are undoubtedly more abundant. Before leaving the parent galaxy, the advantage may not be very different.
However, once the civilization goes out of the parent galaxy, the demand for the surrounding star resources will increase greatly, and the strength between civilizations will increase faster and faster. And closer to the center of the galaxy, there is another advantage, that is to be able to communicate and learn with more civilizations.
There are more stellar systems in the regions with dense stars, and there may be more intelligent civilizations. Although there may be unfriendliness and wars of friction among civilizations, there are both dangers and opportunities, and more civilizations can communicate with each other, which will undoubtedly accelerate the development of civilizations.
From the above two perspectives, we can see that it is a good thing and a bad thing for human beings to be in the remote and barren place of the galaxy. It’s good in terms of security, but bad in terms of the future of human civilization. Of course, the position of the solar system was fixed as early as 5 billion years ago. We can’t change this. We just face the reality.
Humans don’t have to think about the position of the solar system in the galaxy, whether it’s good or bad for us. What we have to do is to strive to develop science and technology. As long as science and technology are powerful, there will be unlimited possibilities in the future, and human civilization will be able to go to the interstellar and become stronger step by step.