After the recent demise of critically acclaimed scientist Stephen Hawking, the entire world has begun to bemoan over his loss en masse. As is always the case with the death of celebrities, fans begin to nitpick at every single sentence they ever said or did. Being a man of science, Stephen Hawking made many bizarre statements, the most prominent of which was the end of our planet.
Planet earth will cease to exist
There will soon come a time when our planet will become hostile to life as we know it. Billions of people will die because of complications brought about by global warming and the melting of the ice caps.
What are our options?
Despite all its imperfections, our planet is the only little marble in the night sky we know of which can harbor life. It is the only place we can call home. If this blue paradise ends up destroyed - there are several options available.
According to Stephen Hawking, the most immediate threat facing man's existence is genetically engineered viruses. We like to toy around with them, such as mixing a powerful (or deadly) cocktail of DNA from humans, cows and other animals - although we haven't understood the long term repercussions.
An alien invasion
Although not very plausible given that it's been well over millions of years and we haven't experienced foreign invasion at all, Stephen argued that since our cosmos is one of many separate universes, we might just live to an alien invasion.
The end of the universe
Sure if the earth is about to come to an end, we can always pack our bag and migrate to another planet - but what if the universe ends in a big boom instead? Hawking did predict that the universe will eventually fade into nothingness.
Take over by artificial intelligence
The only reason why Stephen Hawking was ever able to communicate with us was because of progress in artificial intelligence, big data and machine learning, he did mention once that it was the 'worst invention in the history of our civilization." We're possibly looking at a Terminator-esque doomsday scenario here.
Perhaps the biggest threat facing our continued existence is our own human nature. We tend to be aggressive, irrational and possess fragile egos. All it takes is the press of a button to result in the death of our entire species.
Earth has reached the point of no return
Stephen Hawking claims that our planet has "reached the point of no return". We will eventually have to sail course to another planet soon in order to save ourselves from the massive population growth, pollution and deforestation.
Similar conditions as that on Venus
Hawking argued that there will come a time when our planet will turn into a fireball because of complications brought about by global warming and over-population, we could be looking at similar conditions as that on Venus.
Imagine a massive 'rogue' black hole hurling at us breakneck speeds. The worst part about black holes is that we can't see the smaller ones because they do not register on our telescopes and equipment at all.
Although we're able to produce powerful antibiotics to combat deadly bacteria, we don't know much about bacterial threats. One example is of the chytrid fungus which is killing frogs across the US, a similar fatal fungus attack in humans could be absolutely catastrophic.
We already have around 7.6 billion people on earth, and this number will only climb at an astronomical at an astronomical rate in the next 100 years. There is hope that innovation will curb the negative consequences of overcrowding.
Gamma ray bursts
Gamma ray bursts are powerful blasts with enormous energy, as much as 10 quadrillion times as energetic as the sun itself! If one comes hurling our way, and earth's atmosphere would be fried away. Humans would be prone to skin cancer, crops would die and only chaos will remain.
Giant solar flares
Solar flares are more popularly known as coronal mass ejections, they are massive magnetic outbursts of energy from the sun which is constantly bombarding earth with a fleet of high speed subatomic particles. A superflare however can easily fry the earth's ozone layer - and we can't protect against it.
Earth's magnetic field
Earth's magnetic field reverses every hundred thousand years, this flips the north and south poles. The symptoms of a pole flip is the decreasing magnitude of our magnetic field - which just decreased by about 5 percent. Definitely not a good sign.
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