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  • What are you looking forward to? Summer vacation? The next episode of your

  • favorite show? Curling up with a good book?

  • How about the death of the universe, right? Isn't THAT a cheery thought.

  • [MUSIC]

  • In the final scene of The Sopranos, Tony sits at a diner eating onion rings, Journey is

  • playing on the jukebox, and a shady characters enters the restaurant one after another. All

  • of a sudden Tony looks up and...

  • Yeah, people were a little disappointed. They were disappointed because we never found out

  • how Tony's story ends. And it's the same with your story, or mine. The ending hasn't been

  • written. But that's NOT TRUE for the universe. Thanks to science, we know how it ends. SPOILERS:

  • It doesn't end particularly well.

  • n just 100 years, we'll all be gone. You. Me. Every person who's alive today. If the

  • age of the universe up til now was condensed to one day, our lives would be over in less

  • time than a bat is in contact with a baseball.

  • On the scale of human lifespans, they may appear fixed in the sky. But they are moving,

  • and in 100,000 years not a single constellation we know today will be recognizable. But since

  • our brains are fine-tuned to see patterns, I'm sure we'll find new ones.

  • Speaking of bears, by this time the Cubs have almost certainly won another World Series.

  • Of course NOTHING in science is guaranteed.

  • Unlike Chicago's World Series hopes, disasters are a matter of when, not if. Some time within

  • the next half a million years, Earth will almost certainly experience a climate-altering

  • volcanic eruption, or be hit by a 1 km asteroid. Not enough to cause mass extinction, but still

  • . . . I hope we're viewing it from afar.

  • As the Sun gets older, it's getting hotter. 600 million years from now, our amped up sun

  • will cause more carbon dioxide to be trapped in Earth's crust. So much so, that photosynthesis

  • becomes impossible for 99% of Earth's plants.

  • By 800 million years from now, every green thing on Earth is dried up, and all multicellular

  • life with them. Unfortunately, that includes us.

  • We wouldn't want to be around for what comes next anyway. A billion years from now our

  • amped up sun boils the oceans away, and only bacteria remain.

  • But by 2.8 billion years in the future, even those tiny stragglers have run out of time.

  • Life on Earth goes "POOF". We had a good 6.5 billion years, didn't we?

  • Around this time the Milky Way collides with our neighbor Andromeda. It sounds violent,

  • but galaxies are mostly empty space. Maybe six out of a trillion stars explode into fiery

  • balls of supernova death.

  • Assuming our star makes it out in one piece, by this time it starts to run out of gas.

  • By 7.9 billion years our sun swells up more than 250 times wider than it is today. Mercury

  • and Venus are toast.

  • That planet eating balloon deflates 9.5 billion years down the line, leaving a white dwarf

  • in its place. At this point, things cool off for a while. Literally.

  • In 150 billion years we lose sight of the Big Bang, the cosmic microwave background

  • cools to a point that it's undetectable. And thanks to the expanding universe, we lose

  • sight of all galaxies but our own.

  • After a trillion years, stars stop forming in the universe, but it takes 110 trillion

  • years for all them to flicker out. This is where the sky goes dark.

  • the Earth is still around. Until 1 quadrillion years from now. Then, like all orbits, our

  • orbit decays and we plunge back into the black dwarf that used to be our sun.

  • Over the next 10^25 years, the dead star that remains will transform into a black hole.

  • And those suck. Literally.

  • But they won't suck forever. Even the largest black holes will likely evaporate, thanks

  • to a phenomenon called Hawking radiation.

  • As the minuscule leftovers continue to expand, anything that remains will be stretched so

  • far apart that it really doesn't, and isn't matter at all. After that, the universe is

  • basically empty.

  • So what's the point of anything if it all ends?

  • In 2012, Sopranos creator David Chase finally explained the meaning of the final scene in

  • The Sopranos.

  • He said: "it's a cold universe and I don't mean that metaphorically. If you go out into

  • space, it's cold. It's really cold and we don't know what's up there. We happen to be

  • in this little pocket where there's a sun. What have we got except love and each other

  • to guard against all that isolation and loneliness?"

  • Stay curious.

  • ["Don't stop"]

  • These videos are part of a PBS-wide collaboration all about the future, so head on over to these

  • other great Digital Studios channels and check out their videos. Because the future's gonna

  • be here before you know it.

What are you looking forward to? Summer vacation? The next episode of your


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宇宙の遠い未来 (The Far Future of the Universe)

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    簡宇謙 に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日