The planet Earth is cherished by so many and with very good reason. It's the planet we all call home, as well as the place we need in order to survive. Without our planet, there would be absolutely nothing for any of us. That's why it is very important for us all to take care of it and make sure to cherish what we all hold dear. But what would we do if an asteroid the size of our own planet came hurtling towards Earth?
There are all sorts of catastrophes which happen in the world everyday, and it's these terrifying events that cause us to rethink the way we are treating our planet. No one can say for sure what is going to happen in the future. If we could, we might have been able to avoid quite a few mishaps over the years. But we must all do our part in taking care of the Earth, even if it doesn't seem immediately effective. In the long run, it is exactly what we will need. But because of our current actions, as well as forces of the universe that we simply cannot control, there are ways in which the world could very well end tomorrow. Here are fifteen of some of the craziest ways the world could suddenly end.
15 Asteroid Impact
While this topic isn't taken very seriously among the public, it is actually something that many astronomers believe will happen to us again, and in this case, it isn't going to take millions of years in order to happen. Every one to three centuries, these large asteroids hit Earth, striking caution in many individuals. Our history shows us just how often asteroids have hit the Earth over the last thousands of years. This is one of those situations that are rather unavoidable and entirely impossible to control, considering the circumstances. There is nothing that exists on this Earth that allows us protection from such a large and devastating impact. This is certainly sad news considering there is almost always a way for the countries of this world to protect its people. But when it comes to the forces of the universe, not much can really be done to stop it.
14 Gamma-Ray Bursts
If you possessed the ability to see gamma-rays, you would probably feel like you were constantly experiencing a light show. Also, once a day you would experience a very bright blinding light that would completely white out everything around you, then completely disappear, your sight returning to you. These are known as gamma-ray bursts and astrophysicists have learned that these bursts originate in galaxies far away from ours. But what makes these bursts so scary is that they are massively powerful. In fact, these bursts are ten quadrillion times more energetic than the sun could ever be. Another fact which makes these bursts so dangerous is that we would have no warning before it happened. Earth's atmosphere would most likely protect us from the effects of the rays, but it would come at a very dire cost. The rays would literally fry our atmosphere, destroying our ozone layer, allowing the sun's harmful rays to shine on us at full force. This would cause skin cancer and destroy the important photosynthetic plankton in the ocean required to give us oxygen.
13 Rogue Black Holes
The galaxy in which we live is filled with black holes, that's a simple fact. The gravity of these massive holes is so strong, it will pull whatever it wants into its depths, even the strands of light that dare to come near them. It is estimated by researchers that there are at least 10 million black holes just within the Milky Way Galaxy. However, these black holes are known to orbit just like our stars, meaning that the likelihood of one of them coming in contact with us is highly unlikely. Unfortunately with black holes, we wouldn't have very much warning if one did decide to pop up. People would be in a panic, but there is absolutely nothing we could do about it. Black holes are yet another example of the massive universal damage that is completely out of our control. And because of the strong gravitational pull from these black holes, the Earth would experience severe climate change and possibly be thrown into the deep dark and cold parts of space.
12 Solar Flares
Often called coronal mass, solar flares are giant magnetic bursts that shoot from the sun and hit Earth with subatomic particles. Fortunately, due to Earth's magnetic field and the atmosphere, the ordinary flares which bombard Earth everyday are deflected, meaning no harm comes to us in regards to standard flares. However, Bradley Schaefer, who is with Yale University, decided to take a look at old astronomical records. He found astounding evidence that sun-like stars can brighten for a short period of time, reaching a high factor of about 20. Schaefer seems to think that these increases in brightness are super-flares. It is believed that if a super-flare decided to take on the Earth, it would destroy our protective barriers in just a few hours, killing the ozone layer. Just like the gamma ray bursts, this would cause terrible devastation. Fortunately, our sun hasn't been considered to be one of the stars most likely to do such a thing, but you never know.
11 Earth's Magnetic Field Reversing
After 780,000 years or so, it is theorized that the Earth's magnetic poles will weaken and eventually shift. While this might not sound like a big deal, it's certainly something to take into consideration. Earth's magnetic field protects us from harmful things like particle storms and harmful cosmic rays that come from the sun. It even protects us from subatomic particles which come from deep space. Without the protection of the magnetic fields the particles would hurdle into the Earth's atmosphere, causing the ozone layer to erode. Certain animals would also suffer from a magnetic pole shift due to their reliance on magnetic reckoning. This isn't exactly a topic that most people would consider when it comes to the end of the world, but it is without a doubt, a very devastating one indeed. It is yet another example that reminds us of the importance of the ozone layer and what it means to protect our own planet.
10 Global Warming
As the Earth grows warmer, scientists have a feeling that humans play a part in it. And while many people take global warming as a joke, in reality it is no such thing considering its capability to flood major cities and ruin the harvests that many people have worked so hard to protect. In the present day, scientists are still unsure about where the tipping point really is concerning the tipping point of the Earth's temperature. Some have theorized that if we are not careful, our planet could end up like Venus, with an average high of 900 degrees Fahrenheit. Obviously, in order for this to happen it would require a massive global warming effect, however, if the planet were to experience too much warmth, the rate at which water evaporates would increase dramatically, increasing the impact that droughts have on the world, as well as ending many harvest productions. This means that starvation and dehydration would become a problem rather quickly.
9 Particle Accelerator Mishap
A man by the name of Theodore Kaczynski once said that a particle accelerator would be capable of setting off a chain reaction that would obliterate the world as we know it. Luckily, many physicists agree that an experiment such as this would be a terrible thing for us all. But the question just so happened to rear its head when the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider which resides in Long Island, New York, was revealed to have the potential of creating a subatomic black hole, which would slowly, but surely, devour the entire planet, but the devastation does not stop there. The machine could also create strange bits of matter known as strangelets which would completely obliterate any regular matter they come in contact with. Fortunately for us, scientists have worked very hard to ensure that these situations never come to pass. By keeping the machine at bay, they prevent all of us from ever having to go through such a devastating process.
8 Nanotechnology Disaster
In our day to day lives, technology is everywhere. Even with the smallest of things, various technological advances have helped us to live easier and more efficient lives. And every day, people are coming up with different ways to further our future. One of the latest project ideas is currently being formed by present day by engineers. Many people know them as nanobots, tiny microscopic machines that when used in the right hands can do a lot of good like performing surgeries on areas otherwise hard to get to by humans. But if this type of technology were to be released into the atmosphere, it's theorized that these tiny replicating machines could spread like pollen, completely destroying the biosphere in a matter of days. Of course there are the few who look at this as a military or war opportunity, but such things haven't even been invented yet. However, as scientists are working on the idea, it is quite possible that in the next few decades, we could see these tiny machines out and about, doing what they were intended to do.
7 Global War
It's obvious that this method of destruction made it onto the list. With so many countries housing thousands of nuclear weapons as well as other forms of mass destruction, it's no wonder that people around the world theorize everyday that something like this could end humanity as we know it. All it would take would be for one country to be mad at another, and before you even had a chance to blink, the world would be in complete and utter hell. This isn't to say that war isn't sometimes necessary, but if a global war took place tomorrow, there's a good chance that hardly any of us would be prepared for such an event. And with so many people populating the planet, the casualties would be vastly immense. Suffice it to say that this is certainly a means of personal destruction, considering none of the weapons used would be natural, leaving only the very inhabitants of Earth to blame for its destruction.
6 Robots Take Over The World
It does sound silly when you first hear it, but not if you take into account the vast majority of people who believe something like this could happen. We've seen the movies, and there is certainly no shortage of these cheesy films. However, according to Hans Moravec, who is known as one of the founders of the robotic department Carnegie Mellon University, insists that robots may one day rule the Earth with us at their sides. He predicts that by 2040, machines will possess the capability of matching human intelligence, and maybe even match human consciousness. Moravec also believes that eventually the robots will improve over time, eventually forming a symbiotic relationship with humans and opening a new door to the way humans and robots develop together.
5 Mass Insanity
Because of our advancements, the world has made a vast improvement regarding physical health just in the past century. However, it seems that mental health has taken a rather different route, heading down hill for quite a lot of people. If you look at what The World Health Organization has to say about it, they estimate 500 million people all over the world suffer from a psychological disorder. Also, by 2020, depression is estimated to be the second leading cause of death, cardiovascular disease pinging in at number one. Many people believe that due to this increase in living, people have longer to live, but longer to go through the symptoms of mental illness, causing a risk factor to arise. If the levels of mental illness were to rise too high due to the lengthening of our lives, it would certainly take us out.
4 An Alien Invasion
We haven't yet found signs of life deep in the depths of space, but what if aliens really do exist and decide to take an interest in Earth? Stephen Hawking has theorized that if alien life does indeed exist, they would be so far advanced that they would see us the way we see bacteria. There are almost countless movies that play out exactly what this topic expresses. But how likely is it that aliens would take interest in our planet, only to destroy it along with everyone else? Considering we haven't found any tiny men with large heads around, the likelihood seems to be rather slim. But with such a vast amount of space that is practically endless, surely we cannot be the only ones here in the universe. It would almost be ignorant to think that all of this space was simply for us. One thing is for sure, if aliens do decide to visit, deeming us unworthy, our planet would probably be wiped out within minutes.
3 Divine Intervention
Throughout all religions, you will find various "end of the world" prophecies. For those who practice Judaism, there exists the Book of Daniel. Christianity follows a book known as Revelation. If you lead your life in the ways of Islam, it is the coming of the Mahdi. The stories all have different features, but the similar factor is God coming down into the world and bringing everything to an end, and after it has been done, a new world will emerge for greater things to come. If you are a follower of religion, you probably hold onto your beliefs, maybe even with a death grip. And you will not find a shortage of people, especially in the Christian faith who believe, without a doubt, that divine intervention is inevitable. These religions and "predictions" have been around for thousands of years and will most likely continue to be a part of everyone's lives. However, while these prophecies exist, scientists can not find any proof, and do not rely on words which have been predicted so long ago.
2 Deadly Fungal Contagion
While bacteria has certainly made itself known among us, there exists another form of disease that could possibly pose a greater threat than ever before. David Wake who is a curator at the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, says that the threat from fungal infections are very real, at least for frogs. There exists a chytrid fungus which has been taking out frogs all across the United States. Wake commented on the disease stating, "We've had a new amphibian fungal disease that has just had devastating effects." And while this disease has stayed exclusive for frogs, it doesn't take away from the thought of "what if?" What happens to humanity if a widespread case of fungal infection were to break out infecting a majority of the population? It certainly wouldn't be pretty considering we know more about bacterial infections than we do about fungal infections.
1 The Snowball Effect
Probably the scariest way the world could end, would be through multiple means of disaster. Most scientists believe that it is more likely for this to happen than anything else. When you combine multiple disasters into one giant one, it creates an entirely different monster. For example, global warming could be increasing the presence of pathogens. Then, at the same time, shifts in climate could be happening all around the world. In the meantime, ecosystems would be collapsing, making it more difficult for us to produce our food. Also, all of the bees would die out, leaving the world with nothing to pollinate the crops, along with trees losing their ability to filter out agricultural water. All of these situations hitting us at once could cause more damage that one terrible catastrophe. It wouldn't be a simple process at all, and this is what should terrify us the most.