In Universe made up of Empty Space – What are we?

Atoms – there’s not much to them in the first place, measures in something like picometres and consisting of a core of protons and / or neutrons with electron shells around it. but when you consider that atoms are about 99.9999999999996% empty space that makes you think.

A hydrogen atom is about 99.9999999999996% empty space. Put another way, if a hydrogen atom were the size of the earth, the proton at its center would be about 200 meters (600 feet) across.

This is really quite profound if you think about it. The chair you sit on – 99.9999999999996% empty space.

The car you drive – 99.9999999999996% empty space.

The house you live in – 99.9999999999996% empty space.

You yourself and the clothes you’re wearing – 99.9999999999996% empty space.

That’s a lot of stuff that’s empty space that doesn’t feel like it’s empty space. I mean the clothes we all wear – it’s a good thing they don’t look like 99.9999999999996% empty space or we would all be in trouble!

The realities of the universe we live in are at odds with how we all take it for granted when this is considered. Einstein himself said that all matter is energy. The humble atom is exactly that, made up of particles or energy that hold it together made mostly of nothing.

Science and spirituality are normally a million miles apart, yet when we get to to this level, the fundamental building blocks of how we and everything is made it suddenly doesn’t seem so far fetched to think of our reality in terms of the energy we give out and being affected by the energy around us.

How is this useful to us in our everyday life? Not sure, but it makes me think about the world and everything in it differently. It makes me realise that existence is something truly incredible and unfathomable. I can’t even begin to understand how it all works and why it’s all here. Because if someone is studying atoms it’s basically a large group of atoms formed into a being, studying an atom.

We are the universe observing itself whether in the tiny sense, or the universal sense.

© Simon Farnell 2020

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What’s the Energy with Matter?

If you’ve read the title and thinking that I’ve got it the wrong way around or I’ve gone mad, I’m sorry it is the right way around and… well let’s leave the madness thing. What this is about is Eisenstein’s quote about the face that all matter is basically energy.

Everything is energy and that’s all there is to it. Match the frequency of the reality you want and you cannot help but get that reality.

– Albert Einstein

Converting matter into energy

It sounds like the mad ramblings of something out of science fiction, but thinking about it, matter and energy are always swapping place. For example, if something is burned like, oil, gas or coal the matter is being converted into heat energy. This is very inefficient as there’s lot so bi-products left behind.

Nuclear fission is another process for converting matter into energy. It’s more efficient but the bi product left behind is far more dangerous. We then have fusion which goes a step further. In all these cases matter is converted into heat and light, which is then used to generate our own energy.

But what about the other way around?

Converting energy into matter

In Einsteins theory of general relativity he proves that the absolute maximum speed limit possible in the universe, the speed of light is not achievable by anything which has mass.

The reason is that if we were to travel in a starship and gradually get faster and closer to the speed of light, the mass of the ship and anything else on board would increase. The way of think of mass is the sum of all energies of an object, this would include any inertial energy.

The problem gets worse the closer to light speed we get, so much so that at light speed we reach infinite mass. The reason that mass become infinite is because the energy required to achieve the speed of light is infinite. This is why it’s not possible to reach the speed of light, at least in the physical universe of Einsteins theories.

But the point of all this is that as you put energy in, mass increases. Mass increase indicated something is getting heavier and matter is somehow being created. No one really knows kind of how this works. It’s pure mathematics and so far the theory has held up to physical observations.

Matter and Atoms

Maybe a simpler way of thinking about matter is that it’s made up of atoms, which are made up of protons, neutrons and electrons. What determines different kind of matter is the made up of the atoms, so the number of electrons and shells the atom has. This all looks very much like our own solar system, with it’s core of energy and circling planets.

It’s also worth remembering that an atom can also break down into it’s component energy parts… so, this becomes perhaps a simpler way to think about the relationship and barrier between matter and energy.

What does it matter?

Yes, I know – a pun. In terms of our everyday this doesn’t matter at all. Everyone around us is the same, no different, just a bag of goo made up from star dust. But there comes into this the thought that even from a scientific point of view can we really dismiss the point of view that we’re just the result of a huge accident?
Was the sun or the universe lonely? We can look up and see the very thing where all our energy and matter comes from, we would be dead without it. One day it will take back what it gave us, one day we will return to stardust.

The energies of the universe combined to make the matter that makes itself and from that this microscopic smear that’s called life (let alone the human race) is living and thriving in the world and the energies that created it. Watching with awe as it all takes place. The universe watching itself, trying to work out what it all means.

How can that be an accident?

© Simon Farnell 2020

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Space Travel – What good is it to the Human Race?

Yesterday NASA completed a successful test of the abort system of the Orion spacecraft, this is just one headline in a whole list of announcements in space exploration. Whether it’s Space X, NASA or Blue Origin someone, somewhere is heading back to the Moon with a view to getting to Mars.

But why?

Many say we should be putting the money we would otherwise spend into helping developed parts of the world to survive, to bring all these people out of poverty and onto prosperity? I have to say it’s very hard to argue this point but as usual the answer (if there is an answer) is not that simple.

The economic argument alone is pretty compelling, the US government had made its money many times over from what it’s put into the space race. This can be attributed at least in part by innovation. This interesting little infographic from JPL explains more:

20 Inventions we wouldn’t have had without Space Travel

It’s also been noted that some military development projects as well as some essential domestic services cost more that some US space programs. But even with all these it’s not a reason why and it’s a bi-product of our space exploration activities.

Everything is temporary

Something that science and exploring our local planetary neighbourhood has uncovered is that everything is temporary. Venus and Mars have both had times in their history where liquid water has existed on the surface. Both now are barren and desolate worlds that could never support water, let alone any kind of complex life. On Mars we’re still searching for bacteria even though many say that the images from NASA clearly show an intelligent civilisation once lived there.

I’m not so sure… But each to their own.

Planet Earth

The point is that one day the Earth will expire, it will. Many say that man will wipe itself out before then but some aren’t willing to chance that what is certain is that either by ourselves or nature the human race will be extinct if we don’t learn to live beyond our Earth. So far human kind lives in the most hospitable places on Earth, even Antarctica which is perhaps the closest man can come to living on on Mars or any other world without leaving the Earth.

But this touches on perhaps the biggest reason.

The challenge

Perhaps the biggest reason is the challenge and the rewards that exploring space offers. Mankind has always wanted a challenge and this usually means that we’ve built a weapon to go and level come other poor country and take it over.

Basically we’ve been fighting over a fraction of a speck in the cosmos and that quite frankly is pointless. Just think what could be achieved if mankind actually decided that we need to do this properly, work together, drop the weapons, drop the money and work towards a better future for all of us by working towards a future beyond Earth.

That would be an amazing thing, it would be a crowning achievement for a race that started out in such a violent way. There would be no more need for war or famine or poverty becasue we would finally become one race and equal in it’s achievements.

I fear it may not happen for a while yet – but there is always the hope. When we do go (if) let’s just remember to leave the nukes at home.

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Pale Blue Dot

After Voyager 2 had made its history making flyby of Neptune the Voyager probes were being prepared for the ‘Interstellar’ phase of their mission. Carl Sagan who at the time was on the Voyager imaging team suggested that Voyager 1 look back at the solar system and take a range of pictures of the planets as it could in a final farewell. So in 1990 Voyager 1 took the pictures and beamed them back to NASA.

One of the pictures taken was this one. It’s Earth. The picture dubbed ‘The Pale Blue Dot’ . When the images were taken Voyager 1 was 40 astronomical units from the sun at this moment. One astronomical unit is 93 million miles, or 150 million kilometers.

Trust me it’s there, in the third (and brightest) dull stripe about two thirds down there’s a spec.

That’s us. Well us in 1990.

Earth from Voyager 1 – Credit NASA

Sagan wrote in his “Pale Blue Dot” book:

“That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. … There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world.”

Carl Saga – Pale Blue Dot

But what does this pale blue dot really mean, for us as humans?

The Pale Blue Dot represents a goal not just point of light. When man can look back and see that same pale blue dot with his own eyes, it’s will be the first step in truly understanding the place of humanity in the universe.

It will be the first glimpse what humankind is meant to be and where it is going and that those dreams could be achieved.

The pale blue dot will be there even if man is not, whether something is there to see it or not. That insignificant spec will either be a cradle of life for a race that became so much more than what it started as or the crucible for a race that could have been and so nearly was.

The pale blue dot is not just a picture it was the final farewell, a look back of by a machine that took the hopes and dreams of a race to infinity. Carried by an ambassador for a race that is may outlast.

It is timeless for us, for the Earth and the universe. The messenger that took the Pale Blue Dot may one day be one of only a handful of artifacts in the universe that will testify humanity ever existed.

In a way the pale blue dot shows us all that we are allowed to dream the impossible and try and realise the improbable. We are more than just human, we are the universe looking at itself and wondering…. “What if?”

© Simon Farnell 2020

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Connected Universe -The possibilities of existence

This post is another one of my big thinking posts, a lot of it is about how my thinking around creation / religion and God had changed. Don’t get me wrong here, there are no answers to this and it’s likely I never will find the answers but generally I’m talking about observation of the universe and how this affects us.

Now you’re wondering what on Earth I’m on about… so let me explain. I guess it starts with my upbringing, it was kind of complex and let’s leave it at that but basically I had two parents from two different religious points of view telling me how the world was and God / Jesus and it and things like astrology and the belief in our connection with the natural world or the universe is complete trash.

I accepted and defended this view for many years because as a kid that’s what I did. But I still had many questions and even now I have questions and I’m not going to list them all but this was one thing I accepted.

Roll on some years (too many) and I’ve lived a bit and experienced a few things.

One thing that happened was in 2014 I had my year of hell, anything that could go wrong did and in a major way, I lost a lot. In trying to seek an answer for this I found out that in the world of astrology Saturn entering your sign is a destroyer / life changer and guess what – Yup Saturn was in my sign around that time. Coincidence? Maybe but as I have said before about coincidences – the universe is rarely so lazy.

A few years on from this and space exploration and research from the likes of Hubble is showing us an amazing universe full of not just stars but galaxies.


And guess what, they’re all connected.

Take a look at the picture above – a galaxy with a supermassive black hole at it’s centre with stars and planets and all kinds of other things circling around it.


Look at this one too – what a jewel, the sweeping arms of this galaxy formed somehow by some process we cannot fathom… maybe. What an amazing creation. Now don’t start thinking that I’ve turned into some kind of atheist here becasue no. My thinking is far beyond the simplicity of deciding whether there is or is not a God and all that stuff. I think that there MUST be a creative force in the universe and we have no possible way of understanding it. We cannot.

Delving into my favourite world of science fiction and look at Star Wars, they called their creative entity the force. A faceless thing which as Yoda said ” surrounds us and bind the universe together.”


What I thought was really inspiring about this was the force is named simply in the way it is perceived. Even the Jedi never referred to it as a person whether acting for good or evil. There are so many hangups on what ‘God’ is or who he is and our minds constantly think of him as human. This kind of thinking has caused so much grief over time, anyway – I digress.

Looking at a smaller portion of our universe and how our solar system and planets move through space is really fascinating…

Look at how they’re moving… they’re connected, everything in our solar system, our galaxy and our universe is connected. This is a fact, when we look at the world and the life on it, this great machine is connected with one entity affecting the existence of others, making the machine that is planet Earth work. We are part of that, despite what everyone says, we are part of this machine. We are connected.

So, the question I have to ask is this. If the starts, the planets and the living things are all connected to Earth and the universe, if all these things go on regardless of what we can do, is it really so impossible that the universe can affect us, how we feel, how our lives progress, how things pan out?

We know so little about existence that we cannot possibly know how it works. So why are we told so often how it works when in reality nobody knows. But this I have decided, what I was told when I was young was probably incorrect.

Planet Simon


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Are we alone in the Universe? A Time and Space Question

Arthur C Clarke

“There are two possibilities, we are either alone in the universe or we are not. Both of these are equally terrifying.” Arthur C Clarke.

These words have resonated with me for some time and it’s hard to find any human being that could to relate to this feeling. It’s a quote that gives me the sense of the isolation of the human race and gives me the inescapable feeling that we are all space travellers on a lonely rock in space. It’s also got me thinking – the search for life outside of our own world is focussed purely on one thing – space or location. Where are they?

But let’s look at this another way – is there extraterrestrial life around now, was there life before? Is there extraterrestrial life to come?

If other beings live out there, if we’re to find them, we must do so before one or either of us is expired by the universe. ~ Simon Farnell

Now you might be reading this and thinking that I’ve lost it this time. Surely the aliens are here, right here and right now. But bear with me on this. Planet Earth and the solar system have been around for a very short time in terms of the age of the universe and the human race has existed for a mere blink of an eye in that time… if that. So maybe in the time that we currently exist in the universe is a time where there’s nothing else.

Civilisations have come, grown, developed and been wiped out millions of years ago and any trace of them turned to dust by the natural erosion of their planets.

Or maybe we exist in a time before other civilisations have even started, maybe we’re the first to crawl out of the oceans and develop and grow into sentient beings.

Other possibilities may be that one human life is far shorter than the lives of other beings that live on other worlds.

Time as I have said before is such a relative thing, based on what we can perceive and measure with our minds. If we imagine the universe as a giant entity existing in its place we can maybe imagine that our existence is a fleeting and insignificant thing, a moment of time too short to measure and other races that may or may not exist will also be a similar fleeting moment.

So if other beings live out there, if we’re to find them, we must do so before one or either of us is expired by the universe. Our fleeting moment expired before we could reach out and connect.

Kinda scary eh?

No Ownership claimed on image – Taken from Google.

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Coincidences – Is the Universe rarely so lazy?

I’ve been on this Earth a little while now and if there’s one thing I’m increasingly convinced that doesn’t exist or is rare it’s coincidences. The premise is that on your path in life many, many other paths cross yours in different ways and these are totally random events. But I’m not so sure.


Do coincidences exist? Possibly, probably, maybe. But as Mycroft Holmes said to Sherlock when he was summing up some facts and trying to explain them as coincidence “The universe is rarely so lazy” and I think this is a better way to look at it.

Keep on reading!

Behind Every Man – Arthur C Clarke



I stumbled across this from Arthur C Clarke and it inspired me to share it:

“Behind every man now alive stand thirty ghosts, for that is the ratio by which the dead outnumber the living. Since the dawn of time, roughly a hundred billion human beings have walked the planet Earth.

Now this is an interesting number, for by a curious coincidence there are approximately a hundred billion stars in our local universe, the Milky Way. So for every man who has ever lived, in this Universe there shines a star.

But every one of those stars is a sun, often far more brilliant and glorious than the small, nearby star we call the Sun. And many–perhaps most–of those alien suns have planets circling them. So almost certainly there is enough land in the sky to give every member of the human species, back to the first ape-man, his own private, world-sized heaven–or hell.

How many of those potential heavens and hells are now inhabited, and by what manner of creatures, we have no way of guessing; the very nearest is a million times farther away than Mars or Venus, those still remote goals of the next generation. But the barriers of distance are crumbling; one day we shall meet our equals, or our masters, among the stars.

Men have been slow to face this prospect; some still hope that it may never become reality. Increasing numbers, however are asking; ‘Why have such meetings not occurred already, since we ourselves are about to venture into space?’

Why not, indeed? Here is one possible answer to that very reasonable question. But please remember: this is only a work of fiction.

The truth, as always, will be far stranger.”
―Arthur C Clarke

Thought for Tuesday – My Brain is Drying up!

So here we are and watch out I’ve been thinking again… Watch out world!

How come is it (and this is getting worse as I get older) that I remember things in my head that I would swear are true or factual and yet when I look it up I’ve got it wrong?

Is my brain drying up?

Do I need to top up on oil?

What do you all think?

Simon 🙂

Humans on Mars – My view on the Logic and Insanity

The concept of human colonising Mars isn’t new – it’s decades old and has been talked about since space travel started in the 1950’s and 60’s. Since the Moon landings the science community has viewed that travelling to Mars as being the next logical step in manned space exploration. The science and engineering behind this effort is staggering and while no actual missions are definitely planned in, the discussions have not ended and will carry on until we finally achieve this.

the martian 8

The way in which we travel to Mars has modified over time, I can remember when then missions talked about would last for some months on the Red Planet in order to make it worth the effort. I recent years though this has slowly changed to the realisation that missions to Mars are going to be one way only. You go to live the rest of your days there. This ties in nicely with the ethics of the colonisation of Mars, the preservation and advancement of the human race seems to be important right now. While I get this and there are those that have volunteered for this which is amazing, but do they really know what it’s going to be like? I’m sure a few months will be brilliant fun, but let’s face it 10 years down the line you might well have gone completely insane – if you haven’t starved to death.

Starvation and human preservation is kind of what brings me to some of the insanity around this. I’ve seen people talking about Mars being the next place the hum races goes to once we’ve finished ruining the Earth.

Seriously… WTF?!?

Do you seriously think that it’s all going to be ok to plunder the Earth until it’s a wasteland and then park up on Mars? When was the last time you saw this place?

mars 4

This is it. It doesn’t change much. Nothing grows here, there is no atmosphere to breathe despite what science fiction movies tell us (it’s called fiction for a reason). If we reduce Earth to a wasteland we won’t find anything better on Mars. Colonising Mars is a huge step towards human living permanently off Earth but it’s not a second option to Earth. Earth must be preserved!

The other insane idea is that of Elon Musk’s to create a martian atmosphere by detonating nuclear warheads at the poles, melting them and creating an atmosphere. This is so flawed it’s not funny. Mars has a tiny magnetic field, so it cannot keep much of an atmosphere. But even if it could – everyone would be breathing radioactive air for the next 1000 years! There is also his vision to make travel to Mars accessible to all, costing around $200,000 a trip.

As in every huge project, there is insanity that rides with it. Travelling to Mars is going to be expensive. Living on Mars will be even more expensive and will be very hard! The rewards could be unimaginable and ultimately so will the costs.

Simon 🙂


The world now seems different that you’re not here.

You had some funny ways, but that made you you.

You were always happy, laughing, tough in a way but kind.

But now you’re gone.

The world won’t be the same.

Goodbye Norm. See ya later I hope.

Adam and Eve and those 900 Years

Just to make sure that everyone reading this starts at the same point, Adam and Eve were supposed to have been about 900 years old when they died. During a quiet time this got me thinking – how can humans, even the humans that were meant to have walked this Earth first possibly live to 900 years old?

It’s said that the human being is meant to live about 70 years. Sure you get some living longer, especially in this day and age but so far to live over 100 years old is the exception and not the norm. A human that’s over 100 years old is normally pretty frail as well so getting to 900 seems a bit of a stretch.

But I think I have a possible explanation, at least in my mind anyway.

Imagine you’re the first humans on Earth. You’re supposedly living in the fertile crescent and it’s a fairly temperate place to live. How much difference is there between winter and summer? There are no watches and Gregory hasn’t yet invented his calendar. The other issue is that the Chinese and their astronomers haven’t been invented yet either. There will be only two indications of time that you will be aware of – the first is obviously day and night and the only other that I can think of is the moon.


Every 28 days this shining disc in the sky waxes and wanes and every 28 days there will be a full moon where for a few nights the scary darkness is illuminated and isn’t quite so scary. That moon thing sure would be important and you would get used to knowing when it comes out and how long it would be until it comes again. I’m sure the time it took between full moon’s had a special name, something like a cycle or something.

However at this point there probably isn’t any way for you to tell that the huge rock you’re on is circling the bright warm thing every 300 and something odd days. But that cool Moon thing – yeah! You’ll know all about that! So if we wanted to work out what was meant between a lunar cycle and a year, it could be pretty confusing.



So I did a little bit of thinking to see how this held up. Working out how many times the moon would have orbited the Earth i that time, which is once every 28 days, so thirteen times a year. Assuming Adam and Eve lived to 70 – guess what? They would have seen a full moon 910 times.


Now I don’t want to be hung drawn and quartered for heresy or anything, I’m not saying this is how it was – but it’s a bit of a coincidence. So often we’re told thing that we take as fact. I’m not trying to prove or disprove God, this is merely an exercise in thinking outside of what we’re told and putting myself in their shoes.

Time in many senses is not easily perceivable. Without watches and the gadgets we have today time could only be measure in the crudest of ways and this is what we would all face without it. Day and night would be the smallest measure we could know about working out a year without a calendar and a lot of spare time (which you don’t have when you’re trying to survive) would be pretty damn hard. Counting 900 of them might have got a little boring too!

Simon 🙂