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11 Ways The World Could End
Since the 1500s, there have been more than150 documented predictions of when the world is going to end. Luckily for us, none of themhave come trueâ€¦yet. However, you'll be surprised that not allof them are destructive. Here are some terrifyingly amazing ways theworld, genuinely could end. When you think of scientists working on superviruses, you probably picture Hazmat workers, deep in a mountain bunker, studying vats fullof insidious green liquid. But these labs do actually exist! Maybe notworking for some shady Bondstyle villain looking to ransom the world away to the highestbidder, but for pharmaceutical companies and
government agencies studying ways to curedangerous pathogens. But what happens when a vial full of an extremely dangerous virusbreaks out of containment, or is misplacedé Over the years, there have been numerous documentedcases of dangerous viruses escaping from laboratories around the world. One of these happened asrecently as 2009. A group of scientists based in Europe, workingwith Baxter Pharmaceuticals, were conducting lab tests on a seasonal flu strain.Without realizing it, Baxter had sent them live supplies of the H5N1 virus, better knownas â€œbird flu,â€� which has a mortality rate higher than 60%. One of the world's deadliestviruses was handled and distributed to three
other labs without any pathogen safety protocolsin place. The grave error was only realized when onelab worker in the Czech Republic inoculated a group of ferrets with samples of the â€œseasonfluâ€� batch, and was horrified when they all died.The scientists were immediately placed under quarantine and monitored for signs of thedeadly virus. Luckily, none of them were infected and all the scientists were freed with a cleanbill of health. Two years later, these same strains of avianand human flu were combined in a laboratory, successfully creating â€œthe most dangerousvirus in history.â€� The virus was highly
pathogenic, while retaining its dangerouslyhigh fatality rate. If it got loose, it could kill 60% of the world's population in afreakishly short amount of time â€“ a truly apocalyptic notion.Some say it's only a matter of time before this kind of virus escapes containment andwreaks havoc on mankind. After going through two world wars, you wouldthink that the world would have learned to get along by now. But unfortunately for thesurvival of humanity, we are constantly under threat of triggering the final war â€“ NuclearArmageddon. Mutually Assured Destruction, like its acronymsuggests, is one of the maddest doctrines
ever devised. It ensures that if a countrywere to ever use a nuclear weapon on another state with the same capability, both sideswould unleash their entire nuclear arsenal, bringing about the complete annihilation ofboth countries. With the resulting nuclear winter, and the likely participation of othercountries in the exchange, this would almost certainly lead to destruction and death onan apocalyptic scale. There are over 15,000 nuclear warheads inthe world, with more than 4000 ready to fire at any one time. That would make one hellof a firework show, but probably not one you'd want to be around to watch.There have been a few â€œclose callsâ€� since
we first developed nuclear weapons. A surprisingnumber of these were technical glitches that nearly started World War 3, on both sidesof the Cold War. The average yield of a modern nuclear weaponis around 500 kilotons of TNT, that's 25 times more powerful than the bomb droppedon Nagasaki. Each one of these 500 kiloton bombs are powerful enough to flatten hugeparts of a large modern city such as New York, or London.And there exists some truly unimaginably powerful weapons, like the Tsar Bomba, which had ayield of more than 50 megatonnes. That's two and a half THOUSAND times more powerfulthan the one dropped on Nagasaki. Thankfully
Why Mars Died and Earth Lived
The Mars rover, Curiosity, is the latest ina long line of missions to Marsâ€¦ Landers sent to scoop its soil and study itsrocks, orbiters sent to map its valleys and ridges. They are all asking the same question. Did liquid water once flow on this dry anddusty worldé Did it support life in any formé And are there remnants left to findé The science that comes out of these missionsmay help answer a much larger, more philosophical questionâ€¦
Is our planet Earth the norm, in a galaxyrun through with lifebearing planetsé Or is Earth a rare gem, with a unique makeupand history that allowed it to give rise to living thingsé On Mars, Curiosity has spotted pebbles andother rocks commonly associated with flowing water. It found them down stream on what appearsto be an ancient river fan, where water flowed down into Gale Crater. This shows that at some point in the past,Mars had an atmosphere, cloudy skies, and
liquid water flowing. So what could have turned it into the desolateworld we know todayé One process that very likely played a rolegoes by the unscientific name, â€œsputtering.â€� Like the other planets in our solar system,Mars is lashed by highenergy photons from the Sun. When one of these photons enters the atmosphereof a planet, it can crash into a molecule, knocking loose an electron and turning itinto an ion. The solar wind brings something else: a giantmagnetic field.
When part of the field grazes the planet,it can attract ions and launch them out into space. Another part might fling ions right into theatmosphere at up to a thousand kilometers per second. The ions crash into other molecules, sendingthem in all directions like balls in a game of pool. Over billions of years, this process couldhave literally stripped Mars of its atmosphere, especially in the early life of the solarsystem when the solar wind was more intense
than it is today. Sputtering has actually been spotted directlyon another dead planet, Venus. The Venus Express mission found that solarwinds are steadily stripping off lighter molecules of hydrogen and oxygen. They escape the planet on the night side,then ride solar breezes on out into space. This process has left Venus with an atmospheredominated by carbon dioxide gas, a heat trapping compound that has helped send surface temperaturesup to around 400 degrees Celsius. The loss of Venus' atmosphere likely tookplace over millions of years, especially during
solar outbursts known as coronal mass ejections. If these massive blast waves stripped Venusand Mars of an atmosphere capable of supporting lifeâ€¦ how did Earth avoid the same grimfateé We can see the answer as the solar storm approachesearth. Â Our planet has what Mars and Venus lack a powerful magnetic field generated deep withinits core. Â This protective shield deflects many of the highenergy particles launched by the Sun.
5 Signs of Life On Mars The Countdown 37
Is there life on Marsé More and more evidence seems to suggestthe Red Planet could once support life and it might still be habitable today. I'm Sophie and welcome to The Countdown. Life needs liquid water, which may have covered Marsbillions of years ago. Some of the earliest evidence came from orbiting satellites which snapped photos of landscapesformed by water erosion.
When Curiosity arrived, more clues poured in. In 2012, the rover discovered the signs of a stream bed, proving a river once flowed through Gale crater. More recently, it came across the remains of an ancient lake. 3.6 billion years ago, it was filled with fresh water as well as chemicals that could have supported microbial life. Also, when the Mars rover first usedits drill to take a rock sample, it found clay minerals.
These formed in slightly salty, but still drinkable liquid water. Ancient Mars might actually have beena better place for life than our own planet. According to geochemist, Steven Benner,life could have developed there first. Billions of years ago, Mars had more oxygenand was dryer than Earth. Benner thinks this was a better environmentfor developing molecules like RNA, which are the building blocks of life. In fact, Benner goes even further and suggests Martian molecules might have seeded life on Earth.
Asteroid strikes could have hurledthe molecules towards Earth on the backs of Martian rocks. Although his theory is exciting, not everyone agrees. The process that leads to RNA formation is still not entirely understood, so these molecules could have developed independently in many locations. If you don't like travel, look for Martian life here on Earth. In 1996, NASA researchers claimed the meteorite ALH84001 contained evidence of ancient microbes.
This space rock formed on Mars 4 billion years ago, when the planet was still watery. Samples from its interior containedthe chemicals produced when microbes digest and decay. Even better, there were wormlike structuresthat looked like fossilized bacteria. But this interpretation of the evidence could be wrong. The features of the meteorite may have been formed by physical processes rather than living creatures.
Mars may have been wet billions of years ago, but does it still have water todayé Absolutely. According to Curiosity's analysis, two percent of the Martian soil is made up of H20. Unfortunately, the water is undrinkablebecause it's bonded to other minerals. However, researchers have also noticedthat in Spring and Summer, dark streaks tend to appear, then lengthenon Martian slopes near the equator.