Possible endings of the universe

Possible endings of the universe
Possible endings of the universe

Everything comes to an end. It’s one of the first things we learn in life. Whether it’s a fun evening or the life of a loved one, everything will reach a point where it is no more. Therefore, our universe too, theoretically, should one day experience its disappearance. Astrophysicists try to calculate this purpose. They are mainly just hypotheses because there are many elements of physics still to be discovered.

For now, two scenarios are likely on the scale of our solar system and our galaxy: our Sun will eventually run out of fuel in 5 billion years and around the same time, the Andromeda galaxy will hitting the Milky Way with unknown effects. As for the universe itself, three hypotheses are considered by astrophysicists. It all actually depends on the expansion of the universe. It will eventually rip if it accelerates (“Big Rip”) since it will overcome all the forces keeping it stable, including gravity, electromagnetism, etc. In short, the atoms would be shredded. If it continues to expand at the same speed without stopping, there will come a time when it will no longer be “fast enough” and would lead to the thermal death (“Big Freeze”) of galaxies and planets. In a case where the gravitational force becomes stronger than the expansion of the universe, it would force it to fold in on itself and crash (“Big Crunch”). The contraction point would move to a state so hot that it would likely recreate another “Big Bang.” In short, the cosmos would reset.

However, all of these theories occur in a timeline impossible to humanly conceive. We are talking about trillions of years here. Predictions that could change with increased knowledge of dark energy and other still little-known phenomena in astrophysics. Will human civilizations then be able to have found ways to survive these scenarios? We should already be able to ensure our survival for the next centuries on our good old planet.

Duration: 28min22

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