Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could look far into the Universe and even back into time to the very beginning of the Universe. Observations suggest that the Universe as we know it began around 13.7 billion years ago. It is something that has always fascinated me, because even though we look at the Universe as being “out there” we are an integral part of it. It is all around us, and in fact, it is us -- we are it. The very matter that makes our corpus is the same matter that was present at the very beginning of time. The number of atoms in the Universe is a relatively finite number. According to Albert Einstein, matter and energy are the same, and under certain circumstances they can be made to interchange (this happens in nuclear reactions that take place in nuclear bombs and at the center of the Sun). So, it is probably more accurate to say that the total energy of the Universe is constant, it doesn't change. Isn’t that an amazing thought? When you think about it, that is our immortality.
There is a company here in the Lower Mainland, Dynamic Structures of Coquitlam, B.C., that, together with the California Institute of Technology is currently making the largest telescope ever made. Called the Thirty Meter Telescope, its sensitivity will be close to 100 times that of existing telescopes. Scientists hope to be able to use the telescope to probe dark energy and dark matter, the formation and evolution of galaxies, and black holes and the origins of stars and planets. The telescope will be about the size of Vancouver's Science World, the mirror will be the size of a football field, and will be housed in a building about as long and wide as Vancouver's GM Place arena, but 22 storeys tall.
The giant telescope is expected to go on line in 2015, and will cost an estimated $990 million.
Imagine being able to stand on our little blue planet and peer into the past, to the very formation of the Universe itself.
"And, while with silent, lifting mind, I trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God!” ... John Magee, age 19