Having recently reached the age of 65 and Medicare, I sat down to figure out how far I have come. The Earth rotates at a certain speed every day, (actually faster at the equator). And the Earth moves at a certain speed around the sun and the sun moves at a certain speed through the galaxy. The galaxy rotates at a certain speed and moves in a certain direction and figuring in the expansion of the universe we can estimate that I am moving at a speed of 2,237,000 miles per hour. (I am thinking of installing a seat belt on my desk chair). That is pretty fast for an old guy like me.
So let us figure a little more. There are some 8,760 hours in a year, and naturally a leap year is a day longer at 8784 hours. If we add up all 65 years worth of time. that comes to 443,784 hours that I have lived. Okay, so now we can times the hours by the mileage and that comes out to 1,209,163,176,144 miles. I have traveled over a trillion miles by just sitting here on this planet. I don’t think I will even try to figure in the miles added by traveling in cars, trains, buses and airplanes or just walking.
Even with that large number of miles, it is still nothing as to how far light travels in one year. That distance is 5.878 trillion miles. So now we can see that the distance I have traveled in my lifetime is still barely over a fifth of a light year. The newly discovered planet in our closest star system, Alpha Centauri, is 24.94 trillion miles away. I guess I will not be going there anytime soon. I could have made it to the Oort Cloud, that vast conglomeration of icy and rocky objects orbiting the cold distances around our sun, leftovers from when the solar system was formed. But why bother. The real journey has been here on this planet and being barely aware of our travels through space. Still, it is good to keep track of these things, and actually, if you think about it, the frequent flyer miles points would be killer. (Below, an old illustration of mine showing some interstellar travel.)