The End of the World
HOW WILL THE WORLD END? THE TOP 25: (21 – 25)
Still, the planet has survived so far and if it was a human it would already be in its late 30’s. How long will Humanity survive is a much more relevant question? The people of this planet, both from developed and undeveloped nations, are consuming our precious few resources and destroying the environment – our habbitat – at rate never before experienced. It’s just not sustainable. The truth is that the planet will survive for a long time to come but people might not. See the section Ten Real Ways to save humanity!
In reality, the biggest threat to Humanity is … Human beings!
21. GLIESE 710
Apparently GLIESE 710 is a small red dwarf star that is heading our way. It will arrive in about 1.3 billion years and if it passes through our solar system then it is very possibly goodbye planet Earth. Just so you know – it may be small but it is still 50 times the size of our planet. It will also disrupt just about every rock and asteroid in the region. So even if GLIESE 710 is a close miss we’re still space debris thanks to all those disturbed asteroids. Will it hit our solar system? At the moment it’s a 1 in 50 chance but that’s still not good when that one chance means total annihilation.
This option may well deserve to be ranked higher, particularly as science seems determined to prod this concept until something nasty happens. First off – is there really something called antimatter – in essence the opposite of matter? According CERN, yes there is and during 1995 they announced that they had successfully created nine antihydrogen atoms by implementing the SLAC/Fermilab concept during the PS210 experiment. The experiment was performed using the Low Energy Antiproton Ring (LEAR), and was led by Walter Oelert and Mario Macri. Fermilab soon confirmed the CERN findings by producing approximately 100 antihydrogen atoms at their facilities. The problem was that these antimatter 1995 particles were “hot” (a disturbing term) and not that suitable to study. (Nearly 15 years later CERN now have the Large Hadron Collider. It makes the LEAH look like a kid’s toy.) We won’t trouble you with the science – there is a very good page on Wikipedia and the online Encyclopedia Britannica. But … we will explain the issue. Put simply, when antimatter and matter neutralize each other vast amounts of energy could potentially be released. In the 2000 novel, “Angels and Demons” by Dan Brown (Author of The Da Vinci Code) a very tiny amount of antimatter stolen from CERN is used to create a massive explosion over the Vatican (Rome). It appears that CERN are improving their ability to produce this “stuff” and it imay be very dangerous “stuff” indeed. We did some calculations that became incredibly complex so we are very willing to admit that we may have got it wrong but according to our estimates just one (1) kilogram of pure antimatter allowed to interact with matter would completely disintegrate the Planet Earth and the Moon. Actually the calculations suggested that it could take out every planet from Mercury to Jupiter but surely that’s a mistake? The very good news is that it is incredibly expensive and difficult to produce this stuff. Hang on a moment … that’s today. It might well be quite easy to produce it in a thousand years time. We’d better hope that they have really good Health and Safety standards by then. The more we think about it the more we worry that this should be our number one concern … maybe!
According to various religious beliefs, particularly the Christian Church, God will eventually end the world and the “good’ will go to Heaven and the “evil” will go to Hell. Believers call this the Rapture. It was supposed to happen just over a decade ago and again as recently as the 21st of May, 2011. (It was incorrectly predicted by a popular evangalist . The BBC ran the story under the headline – ‘Followers Baffled as Life Goes On.)
In the Book of Revelation, God, ushering in the Great Tribulation judgments, commands seven angels to pour “seven vials of the wrath of God” upon the Earth. Armageddon (the end of the world) then follows the pouring of the sixth vial. If you are a deeply religious believer then this is what will happen – end of debate. If you are an observational scientist or of a different religion then this is just a load of rubbish. Both the Armageddonists and the Scientists firmly believe that the world will end. The disagreement is about when, how and why!
According to the New Scientist Space (14 may 2007) in approximately 2 billion years the Andromeda Galaxy will nearly collide with our own galaxy – the Milky Way. During this time the gravitation effects of this near miss could cause havoc with our own solar system causing either world ending cataclysm or, according to others, nothing at all. Nobody is very sure what will happen but it is more than likely to be unpleasant. Fortunately two billion years is a long time so right now no one is losing any sleep over this future cosmic collision.
25. EXPANSION OF THE SUN
As we mentioned right at the start of this article even Suns (stars) have a lifespan. Eventually our Sun will finish consuming the hydrogen fuel that keeps it nice and yellow and start a series of convulsions that will see it transform into a huge red giant. The sun will grow so large that it will probably consume Mercury and Venus and may or may not consume Earth before it finally collapses. It doesn’t really matter because the increase in temperature will certainly burn the entire surface of the crust of our planet to a cinder and may even turn it to molten rock again. This is always assuming that the Earth has managed to survive several other possible “end of the world” disasters that could end it all before this happens.
THE SCENARIOS THAT DIDN’T MAKE THE TOP TWENTY FIVE
Verne-shot – vast internal planetary explosions casting island sized chunks of the Earth into Space. (Sorry guys – even after hundreds of millions of years they’d be cosmic evidence. Nope!)
Mass Insanity – We go mad for some unexplainable reason and all run into the sea like lemmings. Oh Please? At least a few hundred thousand would be too busy having sex to join the lunacy.
Mass Suicide – We’ve conquered every challenge, cured every disease including aging. We get bored and kill ourselves all at once. (This concept was first presented in the 1953 science fiction novel by Robert A. Heinlein “Starman Jones” and is just as inconceivable today as it was then. Quite an interesting story though.)
Giant (non meteoric) Tsunamis – who cares what caused them it would be short-term and lots of people would survive. Forget Kevin Costner’s film “Waterworld” everyone thought it was rubbish.
Magnetic Pole Flip – The magnet field is weakening as we write. It may soon flip and for a while we will have no electromagnetic shield. According to scientists we’d get over this. On the other hand they may be wrong and we all die of cancer. Unlikely! The geological record shows that this has happened many, many times before.
Bubble Nucleation – Just way too complicated! Have a look at Occam’s Razor.
Nemesis Dwarf – The evil twin of the Sun somehow hiding out there in the cosmos ready to cause havoc when it’s orbit brings it back in range. No … we can now identify planets around stars more than 100 light years away. We’d have spotted Nemesis by now. Also … it must have visited many times before and we still evolved. Nah!”
Space Clouds – Great clouds of the stuff that eventually becomes stars. This was a close contender for a real threat. If we’d gone to 26 then this would have been it.
When Aquiziam set out to research this topic we had no idea of the sheer number of threats facing our planet. The truth is that many of these “threats” seem to have been constructed using pseudo-science but some are genuinely a real concern. Still, Before you rush out and starting eating Valium tranquillizers like candy just consider this. The universe has already thrown many disasters at this world of ours but it has survived so far. Sure … any of the above scenarios could be the end of the world as we know it … but we still feel fine.