Although some of the less stable people out there are predicting an Armageddon ending in 2010, scientists have said that’s not going to happen.
Instead, our great great great great great grandchildren can look forward to stars that heat up and radiate the earth or a meteorite hitting instead.
And neither one sounds very appealing (we hope there’s no such thing as reincarnation). According to Dr. Marek Kukula a public astronomer at the Greenwich Observatory, the earth is struck all the time by bits from space. Thankfully most of this is sand or dust, which dissolves and doesn’t do us any damage at all. However, Dr Kukula, anything bigger than 10km that falls could be “devastating”.
“We have a look at other planets and this could happen,” he told us.
“In fact at some point in a million, billion years it will. However, it’s not likely this happen in our lifetime.
“We know that from the dinosaur era, a 10km object hitting earth would be devastating. 65 million years ago it is thought something of this size hit Mexico.”
He said boffins were currently working on technology to detect this, claiming that if the meteorite was caught 100 years before it hit, it could be deflected. Anytime less than this and we could be in for a nasty end.
Like the meteorite that hit Mexico, a new one could caused an intense flash of light and heat, which “ignites fires and incinerates plants and animals around it.”
And if this wasn’t enough to have you burrowing away in your garden and making a shelter, it gets even more scary. With this giant rock also comes a “supersonic wind which flattens everything.” Add to that 100 meter high tsunamis and a blanket of dust, and it doesn’t sound like a very nice ending. And if your garden shelter has done its job and protected you from this, then you won’t be smug for long.
According to Dr Kukula the blanket of dust will remain, blocking out the sun and in turn killing plants and animals. There will be no food and snow in the summer. He likened the hit to the film “Deep Impact,” which he said had scientifically researched the effects of a metolite. However, the facts in films such as Armageddon as ridiculous as the acting, with Dr Kukula saying the film got “the science wrong.”
If we’re not hit by a giant rock, then another risk is the stars. According to Dr Kukula there are some stars, which grow and explode, which are known as Supernovas. If this was to happen the brightness would radiate the earth.
“Luckily we’ve not seen any of these in millions of years, but as the sun and galaxy move it could happen,” Dr Kukula said.
And although the sun isn’t a Supernova, it won’t last forever either.
“It will get a lot brighter and hotter in millions of years, drying out oceans and making earth inhabitable.” Always look on the bright side….