We do “Sci-Fi Saturday” with MeTV, but while I was a big Wonder Woman fan in college, the shows today offer only intermittent entertainment, mainly when WW is running around in costume (come to think of it, not much has changed).
We have also seen the original Star Trek way too many times in recent years. So we feel free to substitute other content, such as Star Trek: The Next Generation and other sci-fi from Amazon Prime, Netflix, or our own sci-fi content (e.g., The Outer Limits) on Plex.
It’s interesting that the original Enterprise’s bridge viewscreen is almost exactly the same aspect ratio (shape) as the 65″ plasma TV in our theater room. So on Saturday, we think of the room as our bridge, complete with command chairs (Laz-E-Boys). Armed with a phaser and communicator app, we’re ready for the Gorn or any other foe. A com panel/door swoosh device on our wall annunciates entries as well as exits for galley and head runs.
I found out our subwoofer was dead (Jim) while playing around with a starfield simulation for the room. One final casualty of the lightning strike. Video Revolution wants almost as much to fix it as the original 2002 cost, so I think it’s time for a new one. For now, we get surprisingly good bass out of my old AR-12 speakers (purchased at SEVCO in 1977).
Anyway, I found a high-def video on Alien Couch Potato’s YouTube channel, created with Space Engine: “a free space simulation program that lets you explore the universe in three dimensions, from planet Earth to the most distant galaxies. Areas of the known universe are represented using actual astronomical data, while regions uncharted by astronomy are generated procedurally. Millions of galaxies, trillions of stars, countless planets…”
As detailed in my previous post, Saving YouTubes, viewing with Plex, I saved an .mp4 file of the simulation to one of our computers. It is now playable in the theater room with Plex or Emby on Roku, Chromecast, or my Raspberry Pi computer. (Enterprise D ambient bridge sound is included to complete the experience.) Playing the file on our home network saves internet bandwidth.
This video can give you a visceral understanding of the vastness of space, even in our immediate “neighborhood”.
To give you some perspective:
The Robinson family of “Lost in Space” was trying to get to Alpha Centauri, 4+ light years from Earth. (This is one of the closest stars to us, as Dr. Sheldon Cooper instructs.)
Even if they were able to travel near light speed the entire distance (not even feasible, according to Einstein), they would be looking at around 5 years to arrive, though they wouldn’t have aged much due to the relativistic effect of time dilation. They would need some really good brakes, or they wouldn’t be stopping to look around.
At the impossible speed depicted in this video, that super-fast 5-year mission would take 1/3 of a second. The video lasts an hour and 18 minutes. You go 70,000 light-years, about 7/10 of the way across our Milky Way galaxy. The galaxy background scene changes almost imperceptibly at this speed.
The galaxy closest to us, Andromeda, is 2,500,000 light-years distant. That means that the light from it hitting our retinas today started its journey 2.5M years ago. A video showing this trip at the same speed (15 light-years/sec) would run almost two days.
Our galaxy is one of 100 billion in our universe.
The only way you could ever experience the incredibly faster-than-light speeds depicted in these videos is if someone invents a warp drive. (Zefram Cochrane, where are you?)
In actuality, the best speed a craft with a feasible propulsion system could attain is a small fraction of the speed of light.
There was a “conceptual interstellar spacecraft design”, Project Longshot (Wikipedia). by NASA in 1988 to reach Alpha Centauri orbit with an unmanned, nuclear-powered probe.
Wikipedia: “The journey to Alpha Centauri B orbit would take about 100 years, at an average velocity of approximately 4.5% the speed of light, and another 4.39 years would be necessary for the data to reach Earth.”
All this, Commander Albert probably ponders from from his Laz-E-Boy, er, command chair.