The universe is a big place. It is boundless and it is infinite, which means more things exist inside of it than we could ever comprehend.
That means there are some really scary, outlandish things going on in deep space. Humankind is such a small percentage of the universe, and yet we seek to understand it.
Here were some of those answers.
We Just Get So Close To Death
Every once in a while, our sun just emits a solar flare big enough to end civilization.
In 1859 we had one hit the Earth powerful enough that the telegraph system became self powered for a while before burning itself out. Fortunately at that time, that was pretty much the extent of our electrical infrastructure, so the damage didn't do too much to civilization.
If one hit today without any warning, every system on long spans of wire would be fried. We'd lose a massive amount of infrastructure. No refrigeration for food distribution, large chunks of communication infrastructure gone, massive amounts of manufacturing capacity gone. Pretty much every aspect of life would be affected. And without that infrastructure, we almost certainly don't have the capacity to rebuild the infrastructure before people start starving to death. And once people start starving, things are likely to go downhill pretty quickly.
You might be wondering what are the odds that we'll ever see another solar storm that large, and the answer is that we already have.
On July 23 of 2012, a similarly sized solar flare missed the Earth by 9 days.
In the last few decades we've added in some early warning systems and protocols to give us a chance of surviving. Basically we'll get about 45 minutes warning to disconnect as much of the electrical grid as we can, then hope enough of it survives.
Well, our solar entire galaxy is only 100,000 light years across. So that is about .0000003% the distance of the void (keep in mind even a galaxy is mostly empty as well) the individual stars we see with our naked eyes end at roughly 100 light years away. Which is only .1% of the galaxy.
Our closest solar neighbour is about 4 light years away, and the effect of our suns gravity is assumed to end about 2 light years out. Earth is only 8 light minutes from the sun. And the moon is about 1 light second away from us. In 1 second light can zip around d the earth's equator about 7.5 times. The equator is about 25,000 miles (since you understand yards) 40,000KM. And each mile is 1760 yards.
So, take a yard
1× 1750x 25,000x 7.5, this the distance to the moon, and 1 light second.
Now, x60x60x24x365x4 is the next star at 4 light years. Now
X25 to is a 100LY,
X1000 is our galaxy, which is approximately.. 0000003 the diameter of the void.
So take that number and times it by 10x10x10 and you get the size of the void.
Or there abouts. I am not good at math or yards, I also didn't check my work.
We Will Go On Forever
If it makes anyone feel better, your matter is going to go on. You'll die, decompose, become nutrients for the world and be utilized again and again in different ways for millions of years. And billions of years from now when the sun scorches the earth and consumes it, we will become part of the sun or cosmic dust floating through the universe, forever.
We've been here long before we became a human and we will be here long after our role of being human ends.
It is fundamentally devoid of meaning. Everything around us is governed by impersonal laws of physics. The universe is not oriented toward a goal; it is destined to end in high-entropy nothingness
Theories That Are Incredibly Scary
Not necessarily facts but theories that could be proven fact
- Higher Dimensional Beings: Visualize if there was a 2D person. If you gaze at them in a specific way, they can't see you. All you have to do is look from a top view and they would not know you are there, and they would never know. Living their life as 2D, they would never be capable of comprehending how something could be viewing down on them. Now visualize a 4D person. They could be observing you from a 4 dimensional angle, an angle that you will never comprehend. They could be right alongside you, but you would not know, and you would never know. Just as we could interact with the 2D person, the 4D person could interact with us. But as long as they do not want us to, we could never interrelate with them or not even know of them.
- Fermi Paradox: Let's say we there is an ant hill in the mid of the forest. And right next to the ant hill, we are constructing a ten-lane super-highway. And the question is "Would the ants be capable of comprehending what a ten-lane super-highway is? Would the ants be capable of comprehending the technology and the purposes of the beings constructing the highway next to them? So it is not that we cannot pick up the signals from Planet X using our technology, it is that we cannot even understand what the beings from Planet X are or what they are trying to do. It is so beyond us that even if they actually wanted to educate us, it would be like trying to teach ants about the internet. When Pizarro entered into Peru, did he stop for a while at an anthill to attempt to communicate? Was he generous, trying to help the ants in the anthill? Did he become aggressive and slow his original mission down in order to smash the anthill apart? Or was the anthill of complete and utter and eternal insignificance to Pizarro? That might be our condition here.
- Sixth Mass Extinction: We are at present living through what many biologists consider to be the sixth mass extinction that the world has ever experienced. This is going to be a stimulating puzzle for the species that comes after us. It was not until around the year 1800 that humanity touched a population of 1 billion after thousands and thousands of years. In the 215 years since then, the world population has raised to ~7.2 Billion. That exponential growth has very big and long lasting negative effects on our planet, and will continue to do so until we reach carrying capacity or die off.
The Truth Of Probability
My cousin died in a senseless car accident this summer. He was on his way to work, down a country road not all that well traveled and one he's driven for the better part of half a century. Some a**hat was behind a van in the other lane and didn't care he was in a no passing zone. He broke the speed limit and went to pass, pulled out right in front of my cousin and had a head on collision, killing him instantly.
After his death, I just kept thinking about how specific the scenario had to be...if he'd needed to piss, or had a second bowl of cereal...if he'd dropped his keys, or checked the mail that one last time...he'd have missed being in that spot at that specific time.
SO many things had to go JUST EXACTLY RIGHT for him to die in that scenario, it's improbable as all heck. And yet, they did.
A Combo Of intelligent Life
The fact that conscious and intelligent life exists at all. When you look at the fundamental matter that makes up every object in the universe, everything is made up of atoms, molecules and certain combinations of periodic elements.
These in themselves are not living matter, so at what point did a certain combination of these things become a conscious life form? And what about an actual self aware, intelligent life form like a human as opposed to simpler bacteria? We are still made of the same matter as objects that are not considered alive, so where does consciousness come from? The evolution of our brains, all things considered, is really interesting.
I Fall To Pieces
The Big Rip... someday every matter will simply fall apart. The galaxies will come apart. The stars will come apart. The planets will come apart. Even human (if they survived the next 22 billion years) will simply fall apart. Even the atoms will fall apart.
The idea of "vacuum decay" caused by a false vacuum
It's very complicated but the TL;DR is that the theory suggests that what we call a vacuum is not actually a vacuum. There is an even more stable form BUT it takes a good bit of energy to reach this "true vacuum". If this were to ever occur we don't quite know what would happen but one thing is for sure it would mess up some seriously important stuff.
The effects could be contained and simply mess up cosmic parameters we thought were true for ages. It could also theoretically completely cease the existence of fundamental forces of the universe in an ever expanding bubble of quantum f***ery where the rules of the universe no longer matter. If this were to happen there would be no way to detect it. It could've already happened, there could be multiple. The only way we would know would be when we stopped existing.
It's Imminent In Our Future
According to science, there are three ways in which the universe can end. In each one of them, every trace of our existence is wiped. Not even black holes would exist. The only good news about this, is that it's going to happen in a billion billion billion... years. Personally, this is scary.