When you reach a certain age in life, you'll have come across many platitudes about life's frailties. But what if science proved that the conventional wisdom attached to certain sayings, like living every day like it's your last, had a more literal meaning? And that the world, even after the failed 2012 apocalypse was in fact, close to shutting down?
According to these possible explanations, at least, such a nightmarish reality could technically happen at any moment. Here are 6 scientific theories that suggest the world could end tomorrow.
1. An Asteroid
It's been nearly six million years since an asteroid rained on the parade of dinosaurs and became replaced by billions of two-legged mammals who complain a lot.
Yes, just like the dinosaurs experienced millions of years ago, the same thing happening again isn't impossible- even though experts believe it would take an asteroid at least a mile wide to wipe out Earth's entire human race- an occurrence that usually happens only once every 10 million years or less.
2. Nuclear Warfare
The ownership of nuclear weapons has long presented a bizarre paradox. Granted, the countries who possess nuclear weapons- of which there are believed to be nine- are safer from attack than others but at the same time, owning weapons that can wipe out the world's entire population doesn't exactly scream, 'smart.'
But this is the world we live in, and with North Korea regularly launching rockets into the air like a Taylor Swift 4th of July fireworks party, the likelihood of nuclear warheads being used is worryingly high. In fact, according to an article published in Physics Today, just 100 nuclear bombs would likely bring about the lowest temperatures in over a 1,000 years, and thereby killing off everyone, not to mention the countless other factors that would all but obliterate us to smithereens.
3. Biological Warfare
Diseases and infections have long fascinated Hollywood, but the realities of a desolate world are anything but fictitious. Just take Anthrax.
The deadly substance can be weaponised via aerosol particles, which could easily wipe out 90% of the entire human race, while researchers believe an engineered flu could cause a similar level of biological destruction.
4. We Live In A Computer Simulation
The likelihood of the entire human race being nothing but the work of computer simulation programme isn't very high, hence why many TV shows and Movies, such as The Truman Show, have explored the idea.
However, the notion that we are living in a computer simulation that could one day be switched off hasn't been tested by researchers, even though many believe modern-day technology could quickly detect if our universe were merely a vast area of space manipulated by extraterrestrial life.
5. The Yellowstone Supervolcano Erupts
Inactive for the best part of 640,000 years, a supervolcano's eruption is around 1,000 times stronger than a regular one, but are thankfully rarer too, with the last supervolcanic eruption taking place over 27,000 years ago in New Zealand. But the longer we go without one, the more scientists worry. For instance, if the Yellowstone supervolcano in Wyoming, America, were to erupt, it could easily kill 90,000 nearby inhabitants, and before long, the ash would settle across 2/3 of America, leading to many more fatalities. The sulphuric gas emitted from the eruption would also change the climate to a volcanic winter, making most areas of the country inhabitable.
Admittedly, the eruption wouldn't wipe out the world's population. What it would do is significantly harm global trade, with America's geopolitical ties to the rest of the world being some of the strongest in the world, hence the age-old phrase, 'When America sneezes, the whole world catches a cold.'
6. A Solar Storm
Solar storms are ever-present in many parts of the universe, with droplets the size of Maine regularly falling from the sun's outer atmosphere. So fast are some of these storms that the winds from the solar flares are thought to pick up speeds of more than 4m mph, creating a vast spectacle of lucid lighting.
However, the last time Earth experienced a solar storm was in 1859, a time in which there was no electricity grid. But with modern-day society, now heavily reliant on technology, a repeat solar storm of 1859 could do untold damage to the planet.