20 Scariest Ways the World Could End
No one likes to think about the end of the world, but the fact is this: something, at some point, is going to do us in for good. What that thing is exactly, we don’t know. And that uncertainty has led to lots of theories, speculation, and conspiracies about our inevitable apocalypse.
Today, we’re looking at some of the more terrifying ways that humans could become a distant memory to the universe. These aren’t the only way that things could end, but these are the ones that keep folks up at night.
A deadly asteroid is one of the most iconic and enduring doomsday scenarios. And for good reason, too–life-ending asteroids tend to pass by the Earth every 250,000 years. It’s what got the dinosaurs, and there’s no way to predict that one won’t take out humanity in the future.
While the nuclear threat felt more dangerous during the Cold War, there’s technically nothing stopping a country with a nuclear arsenal from blowing us all off the face of the planet. It would take a lot less than you might realize.
They come in peace…or do they? While contact with an alien lifeform is still within the realm of science fiction, the possibility for life on other planets does exist. Will they be friendly? If movies and TV tell us anything, probably not–you see a lot more Predators than you do E.T.s.
Rogue Black Hole
It’s estimated that there are over 10 million black holes in the Milky Way Galaxy alone. When you couple this with the fact that it’s hard to determine their locations, we might have a rogue one nearby waiting to swallow our planet whole. And even if that didn’t happen, if one were to merely enter our solar system, it could cause chaos to the rotation of the planets–possibly throwing Earth out of the solar system altogether.
Creating a Black Hole
Particle accelerators, like the Hadron Collider, might lead to major advancements in our understanding of the universe–or they might destroy us all. While the chances are incredibly slim, a particle accelerator could theoretically create a black hole that would put an end to Earth without too much trouble.
Rogue Planet Impact
If an asteroid doesn’t get us, don’t worry–a rogue planet could blow us to smithereens instead. While this idea has been promoted by doomsday conspiracy theorists, it’s technically possible. That being said, we would know about any rogue planets long before they got close to Earth. Would we be able to do anything about it? That remains to be seen.
Humans have a pretty volatile relationship with microorganisms. Bacteria are important to our survival, but they could also do us in, were a new (or dormant) disease to spread around the world. We’ve seen it before with the Black Plague, and there’s no reason to think something like that couldn’t happen again–on an even bigger scale.
Biological or Chemical Warfare
Biological or chemical warfare isn’t just speculation–it’s happened before. From smallpox blankets to mustard gas, humans have a sad history of using these agents on one another. A large-scale attack of this kind (or even an accidental release) could easily wipe out entire populations.
A super volcanic eruption is rare, but they have happened in Earth’s past. And when they do, it spells chaos for everything and everyone. A powerful eruption could potentially send so much debris into the atmosphere that we could enter a new ice age. The worst part is that, at best, we would know about it a few months before it happened.
Death of the Sun
If we manage to avoid every other conceivable apocalypse, there is one that will do us in for sure: the death of the sun. As the sun begins to die, it will alternate between collapsing and expanding. Those expansions are predicted to consume Mercury and Venus, but there’s a good chance the sun will envelop the Earth too.
To outsiders, the rapture seems ridiculous–even most Christians don’t accept it. But if the Left Behinders are right, we are in for a terrifying apocalypse. From mass disappearances to mass beheadings to the battle of Armageddon, we’re screwed.
Gamma Ray Burst
Gamma ray bursts can occur when two collapsed stars begin to merge, and the results aren’t pretty. Even if this were to happen light years away, the results could still be deadly for planet Earth. In the event of one of these bursts, the ozone layer would be burned away, allowing the full force of the sun’s UV rays to hit the planet. This would likely kill oxygen-producing plankton in the seas, which spells troubles for us fans of oxygen.
AI might be the wave of the future, but at this point, there’s no way of predicting how that future will play out. Maybe advanced robots and computers will make our lives easier. Or maybe they’ll learn to evolve on their own and decide that humans are getting in the way of their progress.
This one’s highly unlikely, considering it’s pure fiction. But that being said, a zombie outbreak would be pretty terrifying. It’s one thing when actors are fighting the undead, but it’s a whole other story when you’re doing battle with your reanimated friends and loved ones.
Global warming probably wouldn’t end humanity overnight, but if left unchecked, it could slowly make the planet uninhabitable for us and other creatures. Rising sea levels, famine–there are more than enough ways that global warming could do us in.
While experts no longer believe that overpopulation is as much a threat as they once did, the results of a catastrophe like this would be devastating and slow to fix. Food shortages across the globe could potentially lead to mass starvation and armed conflicts over the few resources we did have.
Solar flares occur when a star ejects lots of magnetic, subatomic particles at a high speed. While our atmosphere and magnetic field here on Earth protect us from most of the sun’s flares, a particularly big one could eliminate the atmosphere entirely.
Magnetic Pole Reversal
Scientists know that the Earth’s magnetic poles can flip every 100,000 years or so, and we are currently overdue for one. This reversal would cause chaos to animals that navigate using the magnetic field, but for humans, the real threat is the sun. Before the reversal, the magnetic field disappears almost entirely, leaving us fully exposed to the dangerous UV rays the sun emits.
Solar geoengineering is one potential way to mitigate the effects of global warming by injecting chemicals into the atmosphere that would better reflect light and heat. This could be the thing that saves humanity, but since we’ve never attempted anything like it, it could also very well spell our doom if we messed up the atmosphere (even more than we already have).
A Little Bit of Everything
In apocalyptic movies, it’s always one thing that destroys the earth. But who’s to say it couldn’t be a combination? Maybe aliens invade on the same day an asteroid hits. Maybe zombies have to deal with the catastrophic floods caused by global warming. Who knows? Until that day comes, it’s all literally a shot in the dark.