Humanity is constantly under threat. At times, it is through natural events such as Gamma Ray burst or Mega Tsunami while at other times the reasons are man-made disasters such as Nuclear holocaust or Ocean acidification. But whatever the reason may be, these future events can wipe out humanity. Keep reading the article to find out 10 such horrible events.
1. Gamma Ray Burst
Wolf-Rayet star WR 104, which is 8,000 light years from the Sun, has the possibility of exploding in a hypernova and producing a gamma ray burst aimed at the Earth within the next ten thousand years.
Gamma Ray bursts are the brightest electromagnetic explosions known to occur in the universe. It is accompanied by intense radiation. A gamma ray burst striking on Earth would immediately increase the ultraviolet radiation. But it would be quite small. Hence, it won’t cause global catastrophe. The long term effects of Gamma rays are not most dangerous ones. It can cause chemical reactions in atmosphere creating nitrogen oxide and nitrogen dioxide gas. Nitogen oxide will deplete the ozone layer, cause photochemical smog and cause nitric acid rain. It will ultimately lead to irreparable damage on Earth.
For the Earth, the most dangerous gamma ray burst candidate is Wolf-Raylet star in WR 104. It is about 8,000 light years away and is expected to explode within next 500,000 years. There is a small chance that one of the gamma ray burst, caused due to the explosion, may hit the Earth.(source)
2. Collision with rouge planet
100 million years ago, moon was formed when a rouge planet Theia collided with Earth. Such a collision in future would certainly be the end of the humanity.
Samples from the surface of moon was brought back to Earth by Apollo 12, 15, and 17 missions. Researchers analyzed them with six volcanic rock from Earth’s mantle. Comparing the chemical composition of both, they found out that moon was formed due to a head on collision of another planet, Theia, with Earth. A similar case was rumored to happen in future. Planet X (also known as Nibiru) was said to be on its way to collide with Earth. However, NASA claims it’s just an internal hoax. This does not rule out that such a collision is possible in near future. When such a collision occurs, it would wipe out life from the surface of the Earth.(1,2)
3. Alien invasion
Officially, the humanity has not yet observed any extraterrestrial intelligence (ETI), but contact with ETI remains possible. If any alien invasion occurs, then they can unleash an unfriendly artificial intelligence or performs a catastrophic physics experiment, or might choose to destroy humanity to protect other civilizations.
A Nasa-affiliated scientist, Shawn Domagal-Goldman, and his colleagues have compiled a list of possible outcomes of alien contacts. This is to prepare the humanity if contact with alien ever occurs. In the report, they have divided the results of alien contacts into three broad categories: beneficial, neutral, and harmful.
It would be beneficial if, upon contact with aliens, they help us to advance our knowledge and solve global problems. According to the second result, i.e. neutral, the extraterrestrials may be too different from us. So, we won’t be able to have any meaningful contact/conversation with them. The third one, i.e. harmful, is what we should be prepared for. Aliens may arrive on the Earth to attack, eat, or enslave humans, or they may simply carry unknown pathogens which can be fatal for the human race.(source)
4. Ocean Acidification
The high carbon dioxide level in the Earth’s atmosphere is slowly lowering the pH balance of the world’s oceans and making them acidic. Once the ocean acidification is complete, the entire oceans will turn acidic, causing mass extinction.
252 million years ago, most of the life perished on Earth during the Permian-Triassic mass extinction. A research published in 2015 shows that ocean acidification played a key role in this process. Also, a Nature Climate Change study in 2012 shows that the current acidification rate is 10 times faster than 56 million years ago. In the last hundred years, CO2 has risen about 30 percent, and ocean pH has fallen by 0.1 unit.
Ocean acidification is a slow process. Therefore, it may take decades before the effect on marine life begins to show. But once it starts, it would cut off a major food source of the human. This would leave a major part of 9 billion people reeling in hunger.(1,2)
5. The Red Giant
About 7–8 billion years from now, if and after the Sun has become a red giant, the Earth will be engulfed by the expanding Sun and destroyed.
The Sun, the center of our solar system, is just over 4.5 billion years old. A star at the size of the Sun lasts a little over 8 billion years. So, our sun is more than halfway through its stable lifetime. A billion years down the line, our sun will become hot enough to boil our oceans, making it inhabitable. A few billion years from then, it will become a red giant engulfing everything in its way including the Earth.(source)