No one can ever say for sure what the future will bring, but a new video has summed up all the science-backed predictions that we can reasonably make about how Earth will change over the next 1 billion years, and our poor little brains are reeling.
The reality is that it's highly unlikely that anyone will be around to see most of these changes come to pass, so consider this your exclusive front-row seat to a world where supercontinents reign supreme, Mount Everest is no longer the tallest mountain on our planet, and the Sun is a lot hotter.
The 7-minute video from RealLifeLore has already been seen by more than 1.6 million people in two days. Our favourite prediction? The idea that 2 million years from now, humans on different planets will have evolved into entirely separate species that may or may not know the others exist…
In other words, we become the aliens.
It might sound a little far-fetched, but when you actually think about how much the Earth has changed even since human ancestors first evolved in Africa, it's not so crazy.
For those not able to check out the video, here are some highlights of what's still to come:
- Forget Y2K, in the year 10,000, our devices will be faced with the very real Y10K bug. Right now, all of our software enters the year as four decimal places, so once we hit 10,000 CE, technology will no longer be able to code dates.
- If current globalisation trends continue, all human genetic traits such as skin and hair colour will be evenly distributed across the world. There will be no more region-associated human variation.
- All modern language will stop being recognisable in 20,000 CE, and by 50,000 CE the planet will start to look different too - Niagara Falls will have totally eroded away into a giant lake.
- Earth will also enter another glacial period, regardless of current global warming trends.
- All of the starts and constellations visible from Earth will be completely different.
- If we made it to Mars, we'll have been able to terraform it by now.
- Earth will likely be struck by an asteroid measuring 1 km in diameter… unless we somehow prevent it.
1 Million CE
- By now, Earth will have likely experienced a supervolcanic eruption large enough to spew 3,200 km3 of ash into the atmosphere - similar to the Toba super-eruption that nearly wiped out humanity around 75,000 years ago.
- The nearby star Betelgeuse will explode into a supernova that will be totally visible from Earth even during daytime.
2 Million CE
- If humans had colonised several planets, by now they will have likely evolved into various different species each adapted to their own habitat. They may not be aware of the other human species out there.
- The Grand Canyon will have eroded into an even larger valley.
50 Million CE
- Africa will collide with Eurasia and close off the Mediterranean sea, spawning a new mountain rage that could produce a mountain taller than Mount Everest.
250 Million CE
- All the continents on Earth will have merged back into a supercontinent that will look something like this:
500-600 Million CE
- A deadly gamma-ray burst will occur within 6,500 light-years of Earth, triggering a mass extinction.
- The Sun's increasing luminosity will stop plate tectonic movements, and Co2 levels in the atmosphere will drop dramatically. C3 photosynthesis will no longer be possible and 99 percent of current plant life on Earth will die.
1 Billion CE
- This is the way the world ends, this is the way the world ends, not with a bang but… well, you'd better check out the video above to find that one out.
And let's just add that there have been a lot of surprises throughout Earth's history, and undoubtedly there are a lot of surprises still to come.
So this is just a taste of what the next billion years could bring. We almost have a weird kind of FOMO right now.