Interstellar trash

In 2017 the asteroid/comet Oumuamua whizzed through our solar system. Recently Comet 21/Borisov, another interstellar wanderer has been detected. Two objects in as many years. This got me thinking about astrophysical opinions regarding the “emptiness of space.”

What if it’s not empty at all? What if it’s full of solar system trash, the debris of billions of years of supernovas spewing out the stuff of stars?

If the void between stars is not a void at all, if it’s chock full of debris, stellar-bits that we’re just now starting to detect, then there is no way in hell we—or anyone—could traverse the trillions of miles between stars. Were we to get a starship up to a fraction of lightspeed, anything larger than a grain of rice would destroy us.

The Sci-Fi theory of creating force-fields or “shields” to protect us is fantastical at best. “Passengers”, a great movie, showed us how tenuous the theory. All it would take would be one failure, out of thousands of successful avoidances (lasers, magnetic pulses, kinetic diverters, etc), would still be a failure.

Interstellar trash may be one answer why we don’t see an exo-civilization filling the galaxy; a possible Fermi’s Paradox solution.


6 thoughts on “Interstellar trash

  1. You just ruined my interstellar travel plans. However if Connie is right and when we die we return to the light, well then as light we can travel anywhere in the universe and at the ultimate top speed to boot. Since I don’t like long flights anyhow, I think for now I am happy to stay in Oregon for now in any case. Nice write up. Mike

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I see some Japanese heliophycisists have determined that CMEs the size of the Carrington Event are much more common than we’d thought. Down comes the grid – boom then whisper.


  2. Personally, the comic book version of Jules Verne in space is what I want. You know, rockets shaped like water rockets, guys in old school diver’s helmets, dogs in fishbowl helmets and space suits…
    I’m pretty sure a grain of rice at the speed of light would make a nice hole. I wonder would it stop to tumble around inside like a .25?

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  3. The growing consensus is that you are absolutely correct — space is far from empty. In addition to the probable debris, there’s also the little understood phenomenon of dark matter — is it actually tangible “stuff” and if so, how would its opposition to what we think of as matter possibly effect a material object attempting to travel through it?

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    1. And to think that Sol & Earth are way out in some remote spiral arm, thousands of light years from the galactic center, makes us relatively safe. Imagine the chaos in the galactic center, say 1/3 out from the bullseye. Shattered star-parts must pummel all the stars, planets and moons located therein. I’d posit that 1/3 of all the stars in all the galaxies are sterile—due purely from the location to each other and the constant barrage of stellar body parts (not to mention each system’s own accretion debris and the wicked radiation bathing the area).

      Liked by 1 person

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