30. How will the universe end?
We’ve left perhaps the most all-consuming question to last – how, and crucially, when, will the universe end?! Scientists think that we have at least 1.1 billion years left. So nothing to worry about in the immediate future before earth gets to the point where no life can exist.
They also think, that when it does happen, it’ll be down to one of four events, known as the Big Rip, the Big Freeze, the Big Crunch and the Big Slurp.
The Big Rip will be down to dark energy and the fact that the universe is constantly expanding. Eventually, it’ll be so vast that it can no longer hold itself together and it’ll rip apart. The Big Freeze is also based on our ever expanding universe, but in this scenario, it’ll get so big, everything will pull so far apart that light would no longer exist from suns and moons, and it’ll get colder and colder until all life stops.
The opposite of the Big Bang that formed everything, the Big Crunch posits that the universe doesn’t go on expanding, but will reach a point where it collapses in on itself until everything falls into a black hole.
Finally, the Big Slurp has the newly discovered Higgs Boson particle at its centre. Somehow this is linked to the possibility that a bubble from another universe could infiltrate ours, causing it to literally swallow us up.
We’re not entirely sure which one sounds the least awful – good job we won’t be around to witness it!
So, what do you think? Do you have your own theories on some or maybe all of these unexplained mysteries? Could some be explained away by a simple coincidence? Does science have the answer? Are some of them a playful joke blown way out of context?
Or is there something more sinister at play? Are we alone on Earth? In the universe? Could we be being watched and tested by extra-terrestrial beings that we haven’t caught up with yet?
Who knows? But it sure is fun thinking about them all!