MATHEMATICS have calculated the most likely scenarios for the disappearance of the human race and the end of the world, and more than two-thirds of the population could perish in the dire scenario of the end of the world.
A team of researchers at the University of Rochester in New York fear that humanity could cause its own demise in one of three ways.
Professor Adam Frank, who led the study, which was published in the scientific journal Astrobiology, says that humanity is potentially facing a gradual "extinction", a so-called "soft landing" or "full-blown collapse."
And up to 70 percent of the population will disappear before Earth's civilizations achieve sustainability.
Neither scenario is particularly better than the other, and all three could end in widespread cataclysms.
The doomsday warning comes amid growing concerns that climate change and overpopulation are pushing the planet to the brink of collapse.
The "sobering" predictions were based on a study of the development of distant planets to delineate the theoretical rise and fall of alien civilizations.
Theoretical aliens were nicknamed "former civilizations" and scientists believe that learning from their mistakes could help humanity prevent future catastrophes on Earth.
Professor Frank said: “We are interested in how the former civilizations developed on their planets.
End of the world: scientists fear humans could drive the planet to extinction
“Since there are probably more than 10 trillion trillion planets in the cosmos, unless nature is perversely biased against civilizations like ours, we are not the first to appear.
Unless nature is perversely biased against civilizations like ours, we are not the first to appear
Professor Adam Frank, University of Rochester
“That means that every exo-civilization that evolved from your planet's biosphere had a history: a history of emergence, increased capabilities, and then perhaps a slow fading or a rapid collapse.
“And just as most species that have ever lived on Earth are now extinct, so too most civilizations that arose, if they arose, may have ended long ago.
"So we are exploring what could have happened to others to get information about what could happen to us."
The "extinction" scenario envisions humans managing their own extinction by rapidly depleting all available resources on the planet.
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Professor Frank emphasized that up to 70 percent of the population will disappear before Earth's civilizations achieve sustainability.
In the "soft landing" model there is hope for human survival, but only if humans detect the warning signs of climate cataclysms and adapt to them at the last minute.
The "full-blown collapse" is the scariest of scenarios because it ends in the total extinction of the human race.
However, Professor Frank said there is no real evidence to support these theories, other than "the laws of the planets."
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The end-of-the-world scenarios are purely hypothetical, said Professor Frank.
He said: “Our robot emissaries have already visited most of the worlds in the solar system.
“We have installed weather stations on Mars, we have observed the runaway greenhouse effect on Venus and we have seen a cascade of rain through the methane lakes on Titan.
“From these worlds we learned the generic physics and chemistry that make up what is called climate.
"We can use these laws to predict the global response of any planet to something like the impact of an asteroid or perhaps the emergence of an energy-starved industrial civilization."
By Sebastian Kettley
Source (in English)