How Big is a Trillion? NASA explains
One trillion seconds of ordinary clock time =
Six trillion seconds equals 189,276 years. Now, as an aside, along with the nearly six trillion miles in the light-year, you might be interested to know that there are nearly five trillion dollars in the current U.S. national debt. Is it any wonder that our politicians in Washington are concerned?
(An interesting bit of trivia: If one were to count the national Debt at the rate of one dollar per second, he or she would have to use a mechanical counter to click off the digits. Why? Because, if he or she counted in the usual way, saying “one, two, three, …” etc., there would be numbers whose names are so large, that it would take more than a second of clock time to pronounce them. For example: “Nine hundred and ninety nine billion, nine hundred and ninety nine million, nine hundred and ninety nine thousand, nine hundred and ninety nine,” takes about 8 seconds to pronounce.)
Just How Big Is $1 Trillion?
Talking about these large numbers can be a challenge, so we tackle the trillion-dollar question early on. A few examples of how we explain it:
- 1,000 billion
- $1,000,000,000,000 (that’s 12 zeros)
- At $45.8 million per year, LeBron James would need to work 21,843 years
- Average life in the U.S. lasts 2.4 billion seconds
- One billion seconds ago = 1979
- One trillion seconds ago = 29,700 BC
Now multiply that by 15
THE NATIONAL DEBT HAS HIT THE $15 TRILLION MARK
The National Debt Is Now $15.0 Trillion Dollars. (US Department Of The Treasury, TreasuryDirect.gov, Accessed 11/16/11)
Since President Obama Took Office, The National Debt Has Risen $4.4 Trillion, An Increase Of Over 41 Percent. (US Department Of The Treasury, TreasuryDirect.gov, Accessed 11/16/11)
Under Obama’s Watch, Each Citizen’s Share Of The National Debt Has Risen $14,273.02 To A Total Of $48,692.55. (US Department Of The Treasury, TreasuryDirect.gov, Accessed 11/16/11)
HOW MUCH IS $15 TRILLION?
15 Trillion One-Dollar Bills Would Wrap Around The Earth’s Equator Over 58,000 Times. (“Earth: Facts & Figures,” NASA, Accessed 11/3/11)
In FY2010, The Bureau Of Engraving And Printing Produced $974 Million Worth Of Currency. At That Rate, It Would Take 15,400 Years To Print $15 Trillion. (“Annual Production Figures,” Bureau Of Engraving And Printing, Accessed 11/3/11)
Politifact: Barack Obama Is “The Undisputed Debt King Of The Last Five Presidents.” “So by this measurement — potentially a more important one — Obama is the undisputed debt king of the last five presidents, rather than the guy who added a piddling amount to the debt, as Pelosi’s chart suggested.”(“Nancy Pelosi Post Questionable Chart On Debt Accumulation By Barack Obama, Predecessors,” Politifact, 5/19/11)