The limits of how far humanity can go in the Universe

“After enough time goes by, even the nearest galaxies beyond our local group will have sped away from us so far and for so long that they’ll be invisible to us in any wavelength of light, even with the most powerful telescopes we’d ever be able to build. The leftover glow from the Big Bang itself would fade into obscurity, and all we’d be left with were the stars within our own galaxy. Those will burn for trillions and trillions of years, and we’ll have new ones created for quadrillions of years on top of that. To someone born in the far distant future, the Universe’s memory of where it came from — of the Big Bang, of other galaxies, and of the process that brought all of this into existence — will be wiped clean from what’s even observable. Even if we were to leave today for the most distant stars and galaxies we can imagine at nearly the speed of light, only 3% of the ones in the observable Universe could be reached, a number that gets smaller and smaller with each moment that passes.”

Imagine you had arbitrarily great technology, limitless energy, and the ability to accelerate as close to the speed of light for as long as you wanted. Would you be able to reach the most distant galaxies, the leftover glow from the Big Bang or anything beyond the limit of what we can see today? Not only are all of those things off the table, but the farther we travel into the future, the more our presently observable Universe becomes inaccessible. In only a few tens of billions of years, even the cosmic legacy of our creation – the Big Bang – will be inaccessible to us, as well as any galaxies beyond our own at all.

I wrote a script for the Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell channel on YouTube, and the amazing video at the end, here, is the wonderful result!


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