Once again there is undeniable evidence of our need to expand beyond this Galaxy. Granted this particular threat, a gas cloud, is not due for 30 million years if it stays at the same speed as it is currently. BUT it should be a reminder of why we need to constantly work towards exploring the universe (not just the solar system or even the galaxy!) If mankind is expected to continue for generations to come, we need to understand that Earth will not sustain them. We also need to recognize, and I think we are beginning to, that the Earth is not going to be able to, due to a number of factors, but one of which is our carbon footprint or a combination of the things we are doing to our own planet and the other is out there in space. Out in the Universe there are many things that are threatening our continued existence, at least here. Granted these occurrences’ of which I speak may not become a problem today, probably all clear for tomorrow, day after, not real sure.
Yes, the gas cloud, known as the Smith Cloud, will not slam into the Milky Way (Originally its home until it was cast out 70 million years ago) for 30 million years, but that is just one of the “possible’ threats. Any day now a comet or asteroid could be hurled at speeds that suggest a 2 or 3 day period to save the Earth. If you think it isn’t possible, consider the area of the sky not watched so heavily where much escapes our view due to the Sun. Kind of scary, no? And that is actually only one thought of more thought of a million thoughts. Overall this is why we need to be preparing for space endeavors right now, today! Thankfully we are. Besides NASA’s plans which are being fine-tuned every day, we have Elon Musk’s plans and every other country on Earth and the other individuals who either have the spacecraft and the gumption or just the dream and view of the future.
I’m not trying to freak you out or get you worried BUT I am trying to make sure that the plans keep moving forward. So for right now, great planning, keep it up! Do not falter, keep moving forward not backward or standing still. There is a perception by a portion of the population that nothing will happen in their lifetime so spend money on the staving and homeless. I say do both. To ignore the voice of the universe is to be doomed. Yes, it may affect those 10, 15, 20…million years from now OR it may affect those 10 years from now, regardless, the human race needs to start now as it will take much work to get out of the galaxy and that first step (which we made a long time ago and need to repeat now) is the Moon, and then Mars, and then perhaps Europa or maybe Titan….
So good luck people of Earth AND do the right thing!!
HERE ARE SOME DETAILS ABOUT THE ‘IMPENDING’ CLOUD;
Name: Smith Cloud
What is it: An enormous cloud of gas that was catapulted out of the Milky Way millions of years ago has been spotted plummeting back towards the galaxy.
The huge Smith Cloud, which is travelling at nearly 700,000mph (1,126,540 km/h) is expected to crash into the galactic disk of the Milky Way. It is expected that when it does, astronomers believe, it will set off a spectacular burst of star formation. But first, it has to survive careening through the halo, or atmosphere, of hot ionized gas surrounding the Milky Way.
“The million-degree upper atmosphere of the Galaxy ought to destroy these hydrogen clouds before they ever reach the disk, where most stars are formed,” said Alex Hill, an astronomer at Australia’s Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) and lead author of a paper published in the Astrophysical Journal. “New observations reveal the collision will set the galaxy ablaze when it does hit, with the production of more than two million new stars.
How big is it?: It is 11,000 light years long and 2,500 light years across.
More…From the Hubble's measurements of the Smith Cloud we are able to visualize how active the disks of galaxies are. The Smith cloud was discovered back in the 1960s and was initially thought to be a failed starless galaxy or a gas cloud moving through intergalactic space. Since, we have found it to be composed of hydrogen and helium gas and not the heavier elements that are made by stars.
Astronomers used ultraviolet light from three active galaxies shining through the cloud of gas to help determine its composition, finding it contains heavier elements found within our sun. In particularly they found it was as rich in sulfur atoms as the Milky Way's outer disk, which lies around 15,000 light years from our own solar system.
FYI-In 5 billion years the Milky Way will be “eaten” by the Andromeda galaxy so either way, our future does not look good! The two central black holes will join and become one and should Earth still be around, it will be flung out into interstellar space.