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Q & A: Savannah’s cosmic questions

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Most recent answer: 10/22/2007
Q:
where does the universe end?
- savannah (age 10)
mississippi
A:
Savannah- I've grouped all your questions together, since some of them overlap. I'll start with the easier ones which we can sort of answer and work towards the ones that stump us.

"why cant animals speak english?"

Of course the vast majority of people can't speak English either. No one is born with any particular language, we all have to pick up our language from people around us. Of course other animals can't speak ANY human language, although a few can understand a bit and also use a little sign language if taught. People seem to be very special language users, so it's really us who need to be explained. Probably once our ancestors got smart enough language became useful in helping them with practical matters, like hunting, and in winning mates etc. There are lots of books on attempts to understand how language developed, and I'm sure you'll like to read some as you get older.

"why are other planets different than earth?"

There's no particular reason they should be just like Earth, just like there's no particular reason that different parts of the Earth should be just like each other. In fact, there's a good reason for different planets to be different, since ones closer to the Sun are going to be hotter.

"Will the sun every expand and blow-up the Earth?"

Yes, the stronomers can keep track of how different types of stars age. They say that stars like the Sun go through a stage where they expand a lot into something called Red Giants. That will fry the Earth, but it won't happen for a few billion years.


"where does the universe end? "

We don't think it has any edge. It might just go on forever, or it might wrap back around on itself. I know that idea is hard to picture.

"will time ever end? And if it does, does that mean we will end to?"

We don't have any particular reason to think that time will somehow end. We have every reason to think that we will end, but if we're serious about taking care of our environment and our society, that may not be for a very long time.

"why do we exist? why were we made?" So far as we can tell, we evolved the same way other animals and plants did. Bit by bit, little changes in living things that make them able to have more offspring acumulate and leave changed organisms. Over four billion years, some pretty fancy organisms, like us, can evolve.

"why does anything and everything exist?"

We really have no idea why there's something rather than nothing.

"how was god made?" Here I don't personally understand the question. Perhaps you have a parent or neighbor who believes that a god exists who could explain what they mean by it and perhaps give some thoughts on this question.

Mike W.

(published on 10/22/2007)

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