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5 ways the earth could meet its end

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The end of the world has long been the subject of movies, television shows, and conspiracy theorists. Most recently, a widespread panic surrounding the Maya calendar ending in the year 2012 caused people to speculate that our time was up.

Then there was Y2K, which refers to the feared computer problems that would occur when the year turned from 1999 to 2000, and the computer systems would be unable to process the new number. Some believed this would create massive power outages, transportation symptoms would fail and banks would close down, leading to world chaos.

But according to astrophysicists, the end of the world looks a little different, and a lot hotter.

Katie Mack is author of the book The End of Everything (Astrophysically Speaking). The very first page of her book presents the idea that most likely, in about five billion years, the sun will swell to its red giant phase and leave the earth a charred, lifeless planet.

The five names for the varying end of the world theories are The Big Crunch, Heat Death, The Big Rip, Vacuum Decay, and Bounce.

What are your theories for how the world will end? Do you avoid thinking about it due to discomfort?


Katie Mack is a theoretical astrophysicist and author of the book "The End of Everything (Astrophysically Speaking)."

"The Source" is a live call-in program airing Mondays through Thursdays from 12-1 p.m. Leave a message before the program at (210) 615-8982. During the live show, call 833-877-8255 or email thesource@tpr.org.

This interview will air on Thursday, February 22, 2024.

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