The Earth is an old planet -4.4 billion years according to paleontology, they also say humans have not even existed 0.01 percent of that time. The infinitesimal human physical existence is mind boggling to reflect. We should feel humbled to be it, and part of it.
In this immense cosmic orbit the journey is rough. Radiation impaling the atmosphere; nearby celestial bodies exerting gravity on Earth’s ice caps; a stray asteroid looking to burrow; the universe may be indifferent to us, or it may smile upon us. By means of our existence itself, perhaps we can conjecture that the latter is the case. Yet we should live knowing that this can change at any time.
Below are four possible sequences of events that has a 20% chance to wipe out our species before the year 2100:
1.& 2. Supernova & Gamma Ray Burst
A star is delicate symmetry between nuclear fusion and gravity. Nuclear fusion is the combining of atoms into heavier elements while releasing outwards luminous energy. The energy however, is continually being compressed into a sphere by gravity.
It is this balance that maintains a star’s life for aeons. But what happens when the fuel inevitably runs out?
Well, then gravity dominates.
The star collapses until a breaking point, by then all the compressed energy will be released in what is known as the biggest explosion in the universe… A SUPERNOVA.
Our own Sun will go out with a bang and likely taking us with it. But don’t worry, that won’t happen for at least 4 billion years. What we do have to worry about are nearby stars because, and get this… in this fantastically chaotic universe, these SUPERNOVAE occur EVERY SECOND.
If a supernova exploded within 30 to 50 light years of Earth ripples of shockwaves would rip through our ozone layer, leaving us at the mercy of the Sun’s ultraviolet rays. This would spell ‘mass extinction’ before we even know it, bring about mass destruction of plankton and reef communities, disastrously disrupting marine ecology. All and all resulting in global mutation and mass extinction.
And as though that wasn’t terrifying enough, the largest stellar explosions often produces what is known as GAMMA RAY BURSTS.
These are an unbelievably energetic form light. In-fact, beams of gamma ray from a supernova or hyper-nova releases more energy in 10 seconds than the Sun will emit in its entire 10-billion year lifespan.
One possible explanation of the lack of evidence for extraterrestrial life out there is due to these literal death rays sterilizing everything in its path. The twins beams are focused at first but as it traverses through space, their width will enlarge to a size that could obliterate entire star systems…
In-fact we now have gathered enough evidence to assert that a GRB had once hit Earth 439 million years ago and caused the Ordovician, the first and second largest extinction of all time, annihilating 86% of all life.
Humankind have witnessed some truly remarkable volcanic eruptions since the beginning of civilization.
Such as the like of the awe-inspiring Mt. Vesuvius’s eruption in 79 A.D which obliterated the Roman’s city of Pompeii.
Or the deadly 1883 eruption of Krakatoa in Indonesia that had claimed the life of over 36,000 people.
Yet however disastrous these past outbursts had been, pales in comparison to the eruption of a supervolcano.
Imagine an eruption 3,000 times greater than that of the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens in Washington States…
The effect of its devastation will be greater than that of the asteroid that caused the Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction.
This threat is a very real one. As there is an overdue behemoth stretching 1,500 square miles awakening in the heart of Yellowstone National Park.
Massive earthquakes would first arouse the giant, swelling up the caldera surface, alarms would blair… yet it has already been too late.
Series of earthquakes fracture the layer of rocks suppressing the magma. Then rupture. All people in 100 miles radius dies immediately.
The ashes form a gigantic umbrella 250 miles wide, and it contains Sulfurate Hydrogen, which blots out the sun and suffocates the entire North Western hemisphere in 5 to 7 minutes.
8 states surrounding Yellowstone is now wiped off the face of the planet.
Myriad of triggered volcanoes worldwide generates tsunamis laying waste to coastal regions and wipe out all island countries around the world.
Eruptions last many days. Aside from the millions that will almost die instantly, toxic gas would encapsulate our atmosphere, absorbing sunlight and rain acid for several years. Putting Earth in a nuclear winter that will last many years.
Last time a volcano of this magnitude erupted 85% of land species and 95% of ocean species were eradicated and humans were on the brink of extinction. Volcanologists have mounting evidence to believe that Yellowstone is already overdue and may erupt before the end of this century!
4. Alien Invasion
The universe is made of countless worlds. Asteroids forming planets forming star system forming galaxies in endless cycles converging to the unknown.
Each world is different in their own ways; each civilizations, species and humans are also uniquely distinct.
Some may have a proclivity for peace, others for dominance; some would be for freedom, others for imprisonment. Even though aliens are yet to be observed, any intelligent lives that can be found will also be found amidst the dichotomy that validates cosmic infinity.
From the perspective of the universe, we are a very young species, we exists at the tail-end of time. If we were to maintain the current rate of advancement and jump forward in time 200, 2000 or 20,000 years -which, mind you is less than nothing in view of cosmic scales- then we would see a civilization developed beyond recognition. To a certain degree we would have transcended spatial relativity and be able to blink in and out between worlds; there would be immense structures capable of harvesting gigantic stars, and maybe even blackholes.
If we assume such an advanced civilization was alien and has intention to take over Earth then it would be the ease of a boot stomping on an ant. They could even do it without resorting to violence; or even without awareness of us being taken over at all!
First thing is to reduce human awareness. This can be done by tapping into mainstream media to create controversial situations that would divert the masses’ attention from the aliens’ main objective: the destruction of human values and morality. The depreciation of humans’ awareness would serve to prevent meaningful reflection of humanity’s true corrosion from within. This is effective dehumanization. Like the times of war, human lives loses value. Our identity and will to live becomes reduced to depravity and despair. At which point we would find no reason and have no motivation to protect our way of life, we would readily hand ourselves and our planet over to the aliens’ mercy.