How Will the Earth End?
There has been lot of speculations and debates about how the earth will end but the answer still remains unexplainable.
Many people from science fiction writers to religious prophets have speculated about the earth’s final days, but perhaps only astronomers have provided an end date that is inescapable. Our sun has been converted hydrogen into helium in its core for about 4.65 billion years. It has enough hydrogen left for another 4.5 billion before the outer layers will expand to have a circumference that extends to the orbit of the earth or father. This new “red giant”star will one day swallow up the earth.
But there is good reason to suspect the end of humankind will come before 4.5 billion years. The most difficult question to answer is whether human will be the cause of their own undoing or whether they will be the subject of forces outside of their control.
In the 1980s, scientists began to note with alarm that carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere had increased by more than 25 percent from there level a century before. While some believe this rise is a natural fluctuation, others say the increase is attributable to man’s excessive burning of fossil fuels. Not only does the level of carbon dioxide make the air smell and creat smog, but it also runs the larger danger of enhancing the “green house effect” and raising world temperatures. When sunlight bounces off the earth, gases like carbon dioxide are responsible for “catching,” or reflecting, some of the radiation before it bounces back into space.
EFFECT OF CARBON DIOXIDE:
With too much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, we risk creating a pressure cooker that could in time endanger plant life and plants are our only means of converting carbon dioxide into oxygen. The warmer temperatures could also potentially melt the two polar ice caps, producing a water level that could slowly submerge coastal cities and make less land habitable. If human and plant life died with way, it would be a death of slow attrition.
Wars, plagues, malnutrition, and immunity disorders like AIDS have weakened population growth in the past, but as societies become more interconnected and science has learned to tackle disease, the large populations of the future may find themselves in contentious struggle for natural resources if they do not creat sustainable alternatives for energy and food production. Direct attempts to controlling the population, like china’s one child policy, are admirable in some ways, but they also have revealed potentially dangerous side effects: there are 115 males to 100 females in china, largely because of selective abortion.
Contrasted to the more protracted ways for mankind to destroy itself, there are also the quicker alternatives, like nuclear holocaust.”Every man, woman, and child lives under nuclear sword of Damocles,” said President John F. Kennedy in a september 1961 speech to the United Nations General Assembly,”hanging by the slenderest of threads, capable of being cut at any moment by accident or miscalculation or madness.”
THREATS FROM SPACE
Another possible danger comes from space debris comets and asteroids which may present the most tangible threat to earth as we know it. It was most likely the impact of an asteroid that led to the extinction of dinosaurs 65 million years ago; another asteroid or comet striking the earth could lead to a similar climate shift that changes the fact of the planet. On may 19, 1996, an asteroid that measured one-third of a mile wide came with in 275,000 miles of earth, just a hair in astronomical distance.
Astronomers have said that it would require an asteroid larger than one kilometer wide to create a global disaster. An estimated 2,000 asteroids larger than one kilometer intersect earth’s orbit; one may strike its surface before 4.5 billion years., but the question is how long we can continue to play dodgeball. It should be cheering to know that studies are in the offing that might allow us to use nuclear technology to deflect a comet or asteroid.
So is man’s hope for survival, as depicted by the cold lens of science, fairly bleak? Maybe. For all of our best scientific guesses, there are just as many works, including the Bible’s Book of Revelation and Nostradamus’s writing, which offer cryptic predictions of what is to come. Trying to match biblical or prophetic forecasts with modern correlatives has proven tricky, however. For centuries cult after doomsday cult has predicted a time for Armageddon, only to be disillusioned.
Despite our curiosity and our best educated guesses, only those human who are alive at the time will know the story of our planet’s endgame; the true story of what happens may catch even them by surprise. At this point, the question of whether the earth will end with a bang or in a whimper stays unanswered.
Courtesy: Readers Digest