Doomsday theories are dime a dozen, but most tie themselves to ancient religious prophecies or strange visions. Every now and then, however, we get a whack job theory that rests on science. From world ending earthquakes to burning up the atmosphere, here are five of the most apocalyptic scientific predictions.
5. The Kola Superdeep Borehole
In the Northwestern reaches of Russia is the deepest hole ever drilled into the Earth. The product of 19 years of Soviet work, the ditch goes 40,230 ft or 7.5 miles into the earth.
When it began, people feared massive earth quakes would be unleashed, or the very legions of hell would break loose. Neither of these happened, though the borehole was canceled before completing it’s objective of drilling through the crust of the earth. Temperatures at the bottom of the borehole were so hot, rock would melt and flow back into the hole.
4. Trinity Test
Part of the Manhattan project, the Trinity was the first nuclear detonation ever preformed. On July 16, 1945 the U.S. Army took one of the biggest gambles ever. Project scientist Edward Teller delayed the test, due to fears that the fusion reaction would become self-sustaining with the nitrogen in the air. The result, Teller feared, would burn the atmosphere off in nuclear fire.
This did not happen, as future calculations showed the odds of this occurring to be ridiculously small. The trinity Test did however prompted Oppenheimer to famously recall the verses of the Bhagavad Gita: “Now I am become Death, destroyer of worlds.”
3. The Large Hadron Collider
First opened in 2008, the Large Hadron Colider runs over 17 miles and cost over $6 billion dollars. Firing proton beams at near light speeds in order to generate a black holes and simulate the conditions of the Big Bang. Before being fired up, there was wide spread public panic over the possibility that these black holes, being terrible singularities of death, would destroy the world.
Scientist dismissed these fears, since the resulting black holes were so small they would be destroyed by a phenomenon called Hawking Radiation.. Any black holes would be destroyed mere seconds after existing, making their capabilities rather…limited.
2. Starfish Prime
The magnetosphere is a layer of particles that protects our woefully fragile atmosphere that protects it from the viscous solar winds. So obviously, we should try and nuke it..
The U.S. army experiment was an attempt to disrupt Soviet misse systems, and consisted of detonation a nuclear warhead 250 miles above Johnston Island in the Pacific. The electromagnetic pulse disrupted streetlights and phone lines as far away as Hawaii. A radiation belt formed around the Earth, lasting five years, and crippled one third of all satellites in low Earth orbit.
Unlike most of the entries, SETI is a fairly innocuous looking project. The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence is the collective name for a number of activities currently searching for aliens in the void of space.
Speculation on how to contact alien life began as early as 1896, when Nikola Tesla theorized radio could be used to contact alien life. Some worry that such broadcasts might attract the attention of aliens that are more Independence Day then Star Trek. Unlike earlier entries, this one has only so far been false.