Since many decades, there have been many predictions of the world getting annihilated. However, each time mankind fearfully awaits an apocalypse, the earth moves on sustaining all civilizations breathing on it. Nevertheless, I sometimes wonder and I am sure you do too, as to how the world can potentially end in the future. Interesting question, isn’t it? Well, let’s scratch our minds a little exploring some of the possible candidates of total destruction.
10. Asteroid collision
It has been feared many a times before as well, that an asteroid on a collision course with earth can recreate the same scenario which one asteroid did with the dinosaurs. The massive amounts of energy generated following the collision can wipe out human race to a very large extent from this earth. Scientists have also discovered an asteroid which is a quarter-mile wide in diameter and may possibly hit the Earth in 2036. And guess what? If it does, it would explode upon impact with more than 100,000 times the force of a nuclear blast.
9. Nuclear warfare
The scale of armaments in the world is increasing at a steep rate. And so is the hostility between different nations. The nuclear-powered countries are constantly flexing their muscles to exert their supremacy on the globe. There are apprehensions that a 3rd World War can eventually break out one day. And that day will be certainly the darkest day in the history of mankind. For that day, the long-restrained nuclear arsenals will be allowed to set loose. The excessive use of atomic bombs and hydrogen bombs by the world superpowers can eventually bring about a total annihilation of human civilization. In 2008, Physics Today published an article which concluded that use of just 100 nuclear bombs would bring about a ”nuclear winter” featuring the lowest temperatures in 1,000 years, while 1,000 of things would “likely eliminate the majority of the human population .”
8. Biological warfare
This is something dreaded around the globe. More because it had been initiated to some extent in the past too. Anthrax, which brought a sudden upheaval in the recent past, in reality it, remains an effective means of taking out large swathes of the population. It is basically a substance made of aerosol particles of 1.5 to 5 microns. But these aerosols have the potential to kill a large fraction, nothing less than 90%, of the human population. Larger threats include an engineered avian flu. A superficial glance on this issue produces a list of a large number of officially recognized institutions involved in biological warfare research. If this does not suggest something perilous, what else does it signify?
7. Famine due to resistant pests
Pests are known to be the annihilators of crops. And man’s brain is largely the annihilator of these pests. Courtesy pesticides and insecticides, man has been able to protect his crops from these tiny devils. No wonder these pests are steadily growing resistant to the previously used pesticides, the wonders of chemical engineering is constantly coming up with stronger versions of pesticides. But an evident question is, ‘how long can man sustain making stronger chemicals to kill the pests’? A time will definitely arrive when the pests would have grown resistant to all types of pesticides and we would have run out of stronger killing chemicals. And that will be the day when our crops worldwide will succumb to the forces of the swarms of resistant pests. This can trigger a famine, resulting in mass obliteration of human species.
6. Ice Age v2.0
The enormous amount of greenhouse gases being belched forth in the atmosphere by the modern industrialized world can create a blanket of these gases in the sky. The gases will thus block sunlight, which will not allow the warmth of sun rays to penetrate into the earth’s atmosphere. Hence, the world may grow cooler till the point we don’t arrive at a stage of another Ice Age. Loss of land, loss of crop cover, inhospitable conditions due to chilling weather and dearth of liquid water will be the four factors that will join hands to kill humans on the earth at a massive scale.
5. Solar flares
The Sun is much more than a giant ball of fire, silently giving warmth to the earth. The Sun gives much more to the earth than its gravitational pull and sunlight. Solar flares is another thing that the mighty Sun gives to the earth. Or perhaps, it will be wrong to use the word ‘give’. The Sun actually assails the earth with its dangerous solar flares. It is feared by many scientists that attack of an adequately-powerful solar flare can cripple the electricity grid across the planet. Such a power system failure will render each and every building in the world powerless. Imagine how grim the situation will be when you will not have water-works department supplying water, hospitals not working and crop-production failing die to agricultural-machine failure. This may even spark off widespread violence, engulfing the globe into a dark apocalypse.
4. Super-volcanic eruptions
If your legs quiver at the thought of Mt. St. Helens exploding or if the fury of Mount Etna terrifies your soul, then you probably will never like to imagine the aftermath of a super-volcano’s ferocity. The Yellowstone Caldera, currently sleeping peacefully, is supposed to be the daddy of all other volcanoes worldwide. No wonder why it is called a super-volcano. Its last calculated eruption occurred 640,000 years ago. And it is feared that this goliath can rise up to fury anytime in the future, may be even tomorrow. Can you imagine what will happen next? Well, if not, then let me help you. Researchers believe that nearly two million years ago, a super-massive volcanic eruption occurred where Yellowstone National Park stands today. It is believed to have produced 600 cubic miles of dust and ash. For some perspective, that’s 10,000 times worse than Eyjafjallajökull. The next explosion is dreaded to ruin more than a third of US into ashes. And there are five other supervolcanoes around the world, each sufficiently powerful to threaten global extinction.
3. Dead Sun
The Sun is getting exhausted bit-by-bit each second. This translates into the fear that it may get fully exhausted in the very distant future. And the earth need not wait for the Sun to die before humans get wiped out. Much before its death, the Sun’s reducing energy output will reduce the incoming warmth on the earth, triggering large-scale crop failure and failure of other natural processes dependent on sunlight and winds. This can certainly be an agent of death on earth. Sun-like stars nearing the end of their natural lifespans, first become red giants followed by planetary nebulae. They keep on expanding massively, overtaking planets that happen to be nearby. This implies that the Earth will eventually be pulled into the sun’s dying embrace, unless the sun’s decreased gravity enlarges Earth’s orbit and allows our planet to escape.
2. Alien Invasion
This definitely seems to be something inspired from science-fiction. But many ET theorists believe that the ever-increasing sightings of UFOs across the world and newer reports of alien abductions is a danger-signal for all. Alarms are ringing continuously, asking man to brace up for the ultimate battle between two races. If this comes out to be true one day, that will be perhaps the best and the worst day in the history of human civilization. Best because men, transcending all barriers of nation and race, will unite that day against a common enemy. However, bad because man may not come out victorious at the end of the war.
1. Robotic Rebellion
Perhaps the agents of our doom may not come from outside, rather from our own hands. Our robots are advancing day-by-day towards being smarter and closer to humans. They have already beaten us in mathematical calculations, efficient analysis and even in sports like chess. The day is not far when these robots may realize that they don’t need humans any more for their sustenance. That will be the day when the robots will create their next generation all by themselves, enslave or kill humans worldwide and set up a new race called ‘robo-sapiens’.