It is this writer’s opinion that most people have given little thought to the magnitude of the universe in which their lives play out, so—if I may be forgiven a small exercise in pedantry—I would like to start by simply trying to get a grasp of what the number one trillion actually represents: If you had a deck of a trillion playing cards instead of the usual fifty-two, do you have any idea how far it would reach? About the length of a football field? A block or two? A mile? Ten miles? Actually it would extend approximately 190,000 miles—close to four-fifths of the way to the moon.
Now, if you substituted a mile for each of those approximately 1/100-of-an-inch-thick playing cards and then multiplied by six, you would have the approximate distance of a light-year: six trillion miles—that’s six followed by twelve zeroes (6,000,000,000,000). Try to keep this reference in mind while considering the following.