3 years ago
Terry W. Virts is a retired astronaut, International Space Station Commander, test pilot, and colonel in the United States Air Force. Virts spent over 213 days in space over the course of his career with NASA. His new book How to Astronaut: An Insider's Guide to Leaving Planet Earth is now available.
What is your perspective on the Big Bang? There's a lot of people's views vary depending upon what the most recent theories are. Yeah. But some people believe that the universe started with the Big Bang, and some people believe that it's always existed, and it's a continuing cycle of Big Bang's endless expansion, and then ultimately contraction, and then it starts all over again, and that there's infinite numbers of Big Bang's that are occurring through multiverses, and various universes all over the world, or all over the cosmos. Right. So I'm reading this book right now called The End of Everything by a friend of mine, Katie Mack wrote it. It's about the end of the universe, and it's really cool. It talks about exactly what you're saying. So there was a Big Bang. You can see it, actually. In the cosmic background radiation, there's this microwave anisotropy. It's like everything's not uniform, and you can see that. It's like two or three degrees Kelvin. It's really cold. So the question is, does it explode, and then does it shrink? The big crunch, you know, does it come back? Mm-hmm. They think there's this stuff called dark energy, so does it continue expanding? And she calls it heat decay, or this other one's the big rip, where it just keeps on expanding, accelerating, and like even electrons can't... Everything just disintegrates into nothing, and no one knows what's going to happen. But the really cool thing, I was just reading the chapter about, as it expands super fast, I forgot the name of it, Boltzmann's Brain or something. There's some weird thing where, because of quantum physics, which is completely not understandable, if you say you understand quantum mechanics, you don't, things can just randomly appear. So if the universe is going to be around for trillions of years, like in theory, at some point, two trillion years from now, Joe Rogan could just suddenly create itself out of nothing in the universe, and you'd like look around and go, wow, what's going on? And then you disappear instantly, because of quantum mechanics. So it's a really... Wait, what? Yeah. Explain that again? So the theory is, you could have an entire universe, just because of quantum mechanics, which is the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, right? You don't, you can't know position and velocity, you can only know one or the other. And an extension of that, again, man, I'm just a fighter pilot, I'm not a physicist, but you can, things can just suddenly appear somewhere. And so given enough time, even though it's highly unlikely, this water bottle could create itself out of nothing, just because of physics, the quantum mechanics. I remember my teacher at the Air Force Academy used the example of all of the electrons and protons and stuff could suddenly move themselves, and you could just fall through the floor. Now, the odds of that happening, it ain't going to happen in for a trillion years. But these weird things can happen. And so she uses this kind of cheeky, funny example of, you know, your brain could just suddenly create itself out of nothing and given enough time, the probability would be that. So some people say the whole universe is just this temporary thing that created itself, but I don't know. It's very disconcerting when you hear them talk about quantum mechanics. That is, you know what, I figured relativity out. You start going, wait, what? Exactly. Two things can exist simultaneously in different places. And one of them could be in motion. The other one could be still and they're the same thing. They appear and disappear and what? And now there's quantum computers. Yeah, that's weird. Yeah. Do you understand that? No. Oh, so I don't think no. I spoke at a conference and I followed the quantum computing guy. So it's cool stuff, right? You know, I've had guys like Sean Carroll try to explain it to me on the podcast. It just goes in one of my champions. You and me both, man. Like I said, I love it. It's cool to learn about it, but it does make things seem a lot more mystical than just the standard sort of Newtonian physics perspective of life and gravity and matter and carbon-based life forms. When you start getting into just listening to what they're talking about, when they're talking about quantum weirdness and entanglements and things in superposition, you're like, wait, what is the world made of? Right. Like, can you get down to the smallest possible measurement of life? The smallest things that you can measure the world becomes magic. Yeah. On the smallest scale and also on the biggest scale. Right. Well, that's the weirdest part about the universe is that I'm inclined, especially as I get older and I think about things more to think that everything is kind of fractal and what the universe is probably is it's probably a part of some other organism, some immense organism that's in a universe. It's impossible for us to comprehend the vastness of it when you know, there's a thing they just did recently where they mapped out the human. They're talking about human brain cells and the universe and they were talking about the way the universe functions and the universe functions the way it looks like if you do a scan of the universe, like it looks far too similar right to a human brain cell. This is a talk I want to do Joe. So I saw these patterns from space. There's this one picture of a river in Indonesia. I took it. It looks like arteries like all these blood vessels coming out and I remember thinking there's all these patterns that repeat the seashells. There's these spiral elliptical seashells and then there's hurricanes. Yeah, and then there's galaxies. Yeah. And these these patterns repeat from the microscopic to the macroscopic. It's really cool. It's amazing. Yeah, and I don't understand them all but they in images they they're really cool. Have you ever seen videos on fractals where they show you things like the mandelbrot set and how the closer you get to these fractals the same sort of pattern repeats itself over and over and over again and when people is one thing to comprehend it if someone's explaining it to you in a lecture but is another thing now with the advent of CGI technology right see these fractals be repeated over and over and over again right and the man of our set is a particularly interesting one because it's so beautiful and weird and each each part of that as they go deeper see if you can find a video on it because it's pretty badass mandelbrot set fractal demonstration. I know it's on YouTube but that these these patterns if the universe really is a part of an atom that's in a being right or a part of a cell that's in a being that exists in and you know, the idea of infinity to write we think of the universe is being massive. It's 14 billion like that's not infinite right. It's not even close right 14 billion years is like nothing. It's not infinite. No at all. So this is the mandelbrot set right. Oh cool. And so what these artists have done is as they zoom in the mandelbrot set repeats itself over and over and over and over again and it just it becomes the same exact thing at the lowest possible levels of comprehension or of illustration. They keep getting closer and closer to it. That's amazing. Yeah, I needed that. I was a math major in college and I learned about fractals but they didn't have videos back to this video to see this this would blow you away right because it shows it to you that in a way that appeals to the brain right and it's it's so hard for us to comprehend or to try to illustrate it ourselves. This is the kind of shit that you see when you're on psychedelic drugs to this is another reason why it makes me this is a mushroom. Yeah, yeah, like if you go on a super trip a real trip where you can't come back for four or five hours. This is the kind of shit that you'll see and it makes you wonder like you know, are you looking at the the very fabric of the cosmos itself? So I think there's a theory string theory is kind of popular for small stuff at what electrons are made out of and in the smallest subatomic level and if I remember right 10 to the minus 33rd meters, which is pretty small but that I think that's as small as you can get like there's a there's a there is a smallest particle you can't just keep on going infinitely smaller just like you can't go infinitely bigger because the universe is only so big. So there it is bounded that can't happen forever. Which is pretty well allegedly, but you know, right, but you know 10 years from now everything we think we know is going to be disproven. Catch new episodes of the Joe Rogan Experience for free only on Spotify watch back catalog JRE videos on Spotify including clips easily seamlessly switch between video and audio experience on Spotify. You can listen to the JRE in the background while using other apps and can download episodes to save on data cost all for free Spotify is absolutely free. 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