What did we learn from Carter Emmart

The world is a huge place, calm down with your “I don’t know where I am going”. No, he didn’t actually say any of that, what he did do however was knock us out by actually showing us the universe and taking us on a fun-fact filled tour of the cosmos. Amazing visualizations, it actually felt like being out there and looking at the universe, and although he has accurately plotted the scientifically available data, one can’t help but think “may be the world is nothing like it”.

But today it didn’t really matter how the world actually “looked” like. What mattered was the scale of it all. The vastness of the world we have already discovered, the beauty in the physics of it all and the audacity of the probes we have sent out there. It was in a way the perfect class to kickstart the masters program. After a week of sharing our dreams and expectations with each other, it really helped to get a perspective on how small we really are. Small but not insignificant. I mean we still have those dreams of changing the world. But when you look at the world from so far out, it cancels a lot of noise from your immediate surroundings and ironically makes you focus within. Exactly what you want to be doing at the start of a new (ad)venture.

That wasn’t the only surreal part of the session though. Like I said, the visualizations he created were indeed phenomenal. He started the project almost 18 years ago and one can’t help but think how does a project like this even happen? I mean he had visualized everything, earth, constellations, surface contours of mars, exoplanets, the farthest reaches of the universe we know, the probes we have sent, the magnetic currents and what not. The amount of information he had in that software he created was mind bending. How is such a project managed at all? Open source? Did he say?

Here are some of the relevant links:

http://openspace.itn.liu.se/

http://www.amnh.org/

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