The Universe is a mysterious sandbox filled with billions of different objects that float carelessly through the endless void. Our very own galaxy is just a spot in a vast ocean that continues to expand across all the possible directions for approximately 46 billion light-years. The expansion of the universe started with the Big Bang almost 14 billion years ago but it will end at some point.
Until now scientists have elaborated five doomsday scenarios that envision the unavoidable end of the universe. You can find them below.
- A Big Crunch reverses the expansion process
While the Universe is still expanding it is likely that it will reach a limit at some point in the future. When that moment occurs the Universe will star to contract and all the matter and energy will collapse into a primordial chaos state.
- An unlimited expansion leads to a Big Freeze
This implies an alternate scenario in which the universe continues to expand forever. Since the process will become eternal all the matter that exists at that point will reach a uniform state.
- Big Rip
A large part of the Universe is represented by dark energy, which seems to be a new type of energy that has a constant energy density. This energy may grow as time passes, forcing the accelerated expansion rate that could lead to an explosive finale when time itself disappears.
- Dark energy leads to another Big Bang
This scenario implies that dark energy will accelerate the expansion process but that will result in a new Bing Bang. This means that the Universe will start anew and this is the only scenario where destruction leads to creation.
- The entire Universe will disappear
If dark energy is not stable it may disappear at some point. This would lead to a quantum vacuum that will consume the entire Universe.
Each of these scenarios is billions of years away from taking place so there is no reason to panic.
Jeff Wilkinson is a Senior Politics Reporter at Debate Report covering provincial and national politics, . Before joining Debate Report, Jeff worked on several provincial campaigns including Jack Layton. Jeff has worked as a freelance journalist in Toronto, having been published by over 20 outlets including CBC, the Center for Media and VICE.com.