Want to know how the planet might look in 100 quintillion years time? (That’s 100,000,000,000,000,000,000, with 20 zeros, in case you’ve forgotten). Take a look at this infographic, which was created for the BBC by IIB Studio. It shows how things may finally turn out long after humans have kicked the bucket.
The Earth’s “far future” contains some good news, but mostly a lot of bad news. On the one hand, there’s a concurrence of Gregorian and Islamic calendars (18,860 years), raising the possibility that warring cultures may finally get on the same page. And the Chernobyl nuclear plant becomes completely safe (20,000 years). On the other, all today’s buildings have crumbled away (1,000 years). The Earth’s axial tilt has switched sides (13,000 years) producing hotter summers and colder winters. Niagara Falls has disappeared (50,000 years), because Lake Erie is gone. And, there’s been a super-volcano eruption, or half-mile wide asteroid strike (500,000 years).
Basically, it’s not looking good, and it only gets worse. Men die off completely after 5 million years (because of a weakening of the ‘Y’ chromosome). Then, the Mediterranean Sea disappears as well (50 million years). After a billion years, the whole human race vanishes, irradiated by a Sun 10% hotter than today’s. It’s one trial after another.
The BBC’s chart follows another from a year ago predicting just the next 150 years. That was pretty dystopian too (though at least we still had the Med to swim around in). Looking darkly into the future does serve a purpose, though. It makes you realize things now aren’t that bad after all.