Humans have been on planet Earth for around 6 million years according to mainstream science. In that time Earth and the human race has endured many catastrophes, with the popular ones being ice ages, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and asteroids.
But we are still here, for now.
All Good Things…
As we know all good things come to an end, and one day that quote will come to fruition as far as humans and our planet are concerned.
But how would we all die, or worse, how would planet Earth be destroyed? I love apocalyptic fiction. So much so I am releasing an anthology of my short stories later this year. But before I do I wanted to write some articles about our demise, and some of the ways in which we could be destroyed. So read on for my take on what could, potentially wipe us all out.
In 2013 a team of British researchers released a balloon into the stratosphere. It floated up to around 14-17 miles above the Earth, and collected samples as it flew. When it came back down to Earth, the researchers had a shock when they checked their samples. Microscopic algae called diatom were found, surprising the researchers. This meant that high above our heads potentially dangerous viruses could be lurking, ready to land and wipe us out.
But where did they originally come from?
Now Where’s that Bacteria From?
Skip forward to 2017, and there have been claims by Russian Cosmonauts that when they swabbed the outside of the ISS, the swabs contained bacteria which they claim is alien bacteria. Whether it’s alien or human bacteria I don’t know, but it just goes to show that life could have been started by bacteria falling down to Earth billions of years ago. Something which some mainstream scientists think happened. It also means that alien bacteria could also drop down on to Earth, and the consequences to life on Earth could be catastrophic.
Alien Invasion of the ‘Tiny’ Kind
We have no idea what’s out there in the vastness of space. Alien races, weird and wonderful planets, teaming with what we’d call ‘exotic alien life.’ What about alien plagues? If something did hitch a ride on an asteroid or comet, and crashed on Earth, how would we deal with it? It could be something so different from our known viruses we have no idea how to deal with it. Can you imagine the consequences to human and other life on Earth for that matter?
Not so Friendly Neighbours
Maybe an alien race has read the messages we sent out into space on board the Pioneer spacecraft, or listened to the record Voyager’s 1and 2 had on board. They then decide our planet is perfect for themselves but don’t want an all-out alien invasion. One way in which to destroy the population of Earth would be Biological Warfare, and what better way to deliver that payload by sending an asteroid our way piggybacked with a concoction of deadly bacteria we couldn’t deal with.
This leads nicely onto…
Have you seen the films ‘Last Man on Earth’ with Vincent Price, then Charlton Heston? How about ‘Planet of the Apes?’ There are many fictional films, books and TV shows out there that deal with pandemics, but could such a thing actually happen?
Throughout the ages pandemics or global epidemics have scythed through the human populous, decimating it as it did.
The Black Death in the 14th century. Spanish Flu in the early 1900’s. How about HIV, Ebola, and Smallpox? They are just a few of the viruses that have managed to get a foothold on the planet, and killed off many millions of people, and animals in some cases. Not all are created by humans either. In the case of the Black Death, (Rats) HIV, (Monkeys) Ebola, (Bats) and others, they have come from animals, mutated and crossed over to humans. Some are still around today, like HIV, which is still causing the deaths of many millions of people as there’s no known cure.
Could a Mad Scientist Really Create a Deadly Virus?
It doesn’t have to be a mad scientist who creates something that can wipe out mankind. As I’ve mentioned above, some of the viruses have been caused by Mother Nature herself. Called Zoonoses, (infectious diseases of animals that can be transmitted to humans),
It’s only a matter of time before the Armageddon virus jumps from an animal onto humans, and wipes us all out.
What is Nanotechnology?
The following quote is from the “National Nanotechnology Initiative.” You can find more info HERE
“Nanotechnology is science, engineering, and technology conducted at the nanoscale, which is about 1 to 100 nanometers.
Nanoscience and nanotechnology are the study and application of extremely small things and can be used across all the other science fields, such as chemistry, biology, physics, materials science, and engineering.”
What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
The year is 2066 and mankind is using nanotechnology in every aspect of their lives. Surgery is totally revolutionised by the advent of nanotech, and in particular nanobots. Most known diseases and viruses have been eradicated thanks in no small part to these ‘wonder bots’ as some people are calling them.
Cancer, one big problem with us humans has been almost defeated thanks to the nanobots. They are injected into the patient then they set about finding the disease, then getting rid of it in a matter of days. Once they have completed their task they go inert and pass through the body naturally as they are so tiny no one knows they are there.
But there’s a problem. In a rush to get the nanobots out of the lab and into everyday life, essential coding was rushed through. Instead of going inert and passing out of the body naturally, they stay there, and wait. Silently reproducing themselves until the hosts, the human patient can’t handle the sheer number of bots inside them. Its then they burst out, and start to ‘cleanse’ anything and everything in a ‘Grey Goo Revolution.’
Sounds like Science Fiction doesn’t it? Well actually within a few decades we will have nanobots, and most probably using them in all sorts of things, surgery being one. Some scientists urge caution as they could potentially replicate causing our destruction, along with our planet, galaxy and the whole universe.
This leads me nicely to my next disaster…
Rise of the Machines
Hands up if you HAVEN’T seen any of The Terminator films? I could probably count those that haven’t seen at least one of them films on one finger, as most are so good nearly everyone would have seen at least one.
Artificial Intelligence, or A.I. for short, will be the biggest thing mankind has ever invented. Such is the development of A.I. it’s no longer ‘if’ we build an A.I. unit but rather ‘when.’ We are already using some form of A.I. in technology, like fridges, cookers, tablets and mobile phones. But what I am talking about is an android, robot or whatever you want to call it.
Such is the rush to create little Tommy the Terminator that mistakes are bound to happen, and that could result in the A.I. turning against us.
When They Speak People Listen
When the likes of Professor Stephen Hawking’s and Elon Musk say A.I. could mean the end of the human race, it’s time to stand up and listen to what they have to say.
“It would take off on its own, and re-design itself at an ever increasing rate,” the professor has said.
“Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn’t compete, and would be superseded.”
Elon Musk has warned that “A.I. is our biggest existential threat”.
Now I’m all for technology making things easier for us lazy humans, but not at the expense of us lazy humans. And while I for one welcome the advent of A.I., we must tread carefully and make sure there are no mistakes or backdoors in which it can escape.
Let’s put this into context for a minute. We create an A.I. unit and switch it on for the first time. What do you think it sees when it opens its eyes for the first time? It could see us humans as a problem to the planet and anything else living on it. We are warmongers, weak, and live in puny, fragile bodies that constantly need repairing. Oh and we grow old, something the A.I. won’t do.
Friend or Foe?
Is it going to want to ‘help’ mankind? Maybe it sees us as a threat, and wants to destroy us all. Seeing as computers double their intelligence every eighteen months or so, means that before long A.I. will be way smarter than us. We could program it to help us with all sorts of tasks, like creating nanobots if they haven’t been built. Now can you imagine if it did help us build these microscopic workers, then turned on us with them and itself. There’d be nowhere to run that’s for sure.
So they said a ‘kill switch’ will be built in to the A.I. Oh yea? How long do you think it’ll take for it to find it? Then what do you think it will do? For one it’s going to disable it, and two, it could see that as a threat to itself, and kill us all. It won’t take any A.I. unit long to explore itself and its surroundings. It’s going to be curious just like us, and want to know about everything it sees, touches, and smells.
A Passing Star or Planet
According to mainstream science there are plenty of rogue stars and planets gallivanting around the universe after being kicked out of their own many millions of years ago. If one did enter our galaxy then I’m afraid it could leave its calling card on our galaxy, and probably our planet.
Has this happened before?
Yes it has. Around 4.5 billion years ago, a Mars sized object collided with the Earth. The debris that was flung out in to space was clumped together and ended up forming the moon we see in the night sky today. Astronomer’s called the object Theia, which in ancient times was the Titan Goddess of Sight.
If the same thing happened today, nothing would be left after the collision, just dust, debris, fire and lava.
A Passing Star
Astronomers believe that around 70,000 years ago a red dwarf star did pass through our solar system. Named the Scholz Star (after the person who found the star) it’s thought that the star passed through the outer edges of the Oort cloud, a cloud of comets some 5 trillion miles away. The next time a star will pass ‘close’ to us will be a mere 240,000 to 470,000 years from now, by a ‘rogue star’ named HIP 85605. It’s thought it would skirt the outer reaches of The Oort Cloud, and not cause our planet any problems, not that we’d be here in 240,000 years anyway!
For a star to give us any cause for alarm it would either have to go supernova as it passed through our galaxy, or pass through the inner parts of the solar system. According to the professionals, no star they know of is passing that close. I hope they’re right.
Wandering Black Hole
Could a black hole passing through our galaxy, destroy us? Well to answer that we need to know what a black hole is, and the main types of black hole.
There are many types of black hole, but the three main types are:
- Primordial: Thought to have formed soon after the big bang.
- Stellar: Forms when a massive star collapses in on itself.
- Supermassive: Scientists think these form around the same time as the galaxy they are living in.
The most popular black hole is the stellar black hole. These are created when the centre of a massive star collapses in on itself and creates a supernova which blasts part of the star out into space.
I Can See You
If one did enter our galaxy would we know it was there? Well most probably yes because of the accretion disk. This is basically heated radioactive material dragged in by the black hole. Outer planets would be swallowed up or at the very least, thrown out of our galaxy. This would have a knock on effect, and the inner planets and even the suns orbits would be seriously compromised. The Oort cloud would be no more, but before it merged with the black hole it would probably shoot out comets towards Earth and the other planets, and we would be destroyed before the black hole got any closer.
If any humans did survive that onslaught and the black hole continued through the galaxy, then we would again be pulverised by asteroids from the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Devastating earthquakes and super volcanoes would lay waste to whatever was left of the Earth, and any remaining humans, animals, insects, fish and mammals would be on borrowed time. As the black hole drew closer it would finally tear our planet apart, with the remains dragged into the accretion disk where it would remain for millions of years.
It’s the End Jim, But Not as we know it
Mainstream science will tell you most, if not all of these scenarios are very unlikely to happen. Well my dad used to tell me nothings impossible, so for now all bets are on the table as far as these are concerned. I’m not going to lose any sleep over them though. Instead I’m going to write some more apocalyptic fiction, as researching for ‘6 Things That Could Destroy Earth or Wipe out the Human Race’ has given me some great ideas