By Natural Philosopher Mike Prestwood

The Future Timeline

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From now to the Big Freeze.

Future Predictions

Futurism: Understanding the future can bring clarity to your life now. For example, understanding that we have a new North Star every 13,000 years is intersting, and the fact that we’ll have 100% all new constellations within just one million years helps you to see that astrology is pure junk science, speculative and irrational. The more you know, the better you can live a more truthfull and fulfilling life. These potential future predictions are some of the more interesting predictions. Each one indicates verified or speculative and an Idea of Ideas indicator on empirical, rational, or irrational. Sometimes qualifiers are added, as in “Well Verified” or “Somewhat Speculative,” etc.

Europa’s Vast Ocean Unveiled: Diving Deep into an Ocean World of Jupiter
Europa’s Vast Ocean Unveiled: Diving Deep into an Ocean World of Jupiter

In 2030, NASA’s Europa Clipper arrives at Jupiter, ready to embark on an unprecedented exploration of Europa, one of the most intriguing moons in our solar system. This mighty spacecraft, equipped with an arsenal of cutting-edge instruments, will perform a series of daring flybys, meticulously mapping Europa’s icy crust and peering deep into its subsurface ocean. Clipper’s advanced radar will be able to penetrate the ice, measuring its thickness and potentially revealing hidden pockets of water. Sophisticated spectrometers will analyze the composition of Europa’s thin atmosphere, searching for biosignatures – chemical signatures that could hint at life beneath the ice.

The data collected by Clipper will be instrumental in answering the question that has captivated scientists for decades: does life exist on Europa? With a vast ocean of liquid water, the potential for energy sources, and a protective icy shell, Europa offers all the key ingredients for a habitable environment. While giant, bioluminescent creatures might be out of the picture for now, Clipper’s findings could reveal a hidden world teeming with microbial life. Imagine jellyfish-like organisms drifting through the currents, or heat-loving microbes thriving around hydrothermal vents on the ocean floor. The possibilities are as vast and captivating as the ocean itself, and with Clipper leading the way, we are on the verge of unraveling Europa’s secrets.

MaaS Tipping Point
MaaS Tipping Point
2040: 15 Years From Now (+/- 5 years)
Speculative. Informed by accelerated technological trends and empirical data.
<1 Generation From Now (from 2020 CE)

This is the self-driving EV taxi tipping point. The year EV taxis outnumber individually owned vehicles world wide. While individually owned vehicles will likely be a part of society forever, nearly everyone owning at least one is unsustainable over the long-term. A key point in this journey into the future is the year that self-driving EV taxis outnumber individually driven vehicles.

A Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) vehicle is an autonomous, electrically powered car designed to transport passengers without the need for a human driver. Equipped with advanced sensors, cameras, and artificial intelligence systems, these vehicles navigate roads, obey traffic laws, and respond to dynamic driving conditions autonomously. Primarily powered by electric batteries, they offer a sustainable alternative to traditional taxis by reducing emissions and minimizing environmental impact. As part of a broader shift towards smarter urban mobility solutions, self-driving EV taxis aim to enhance the efficiency, safety, and accessibility of public transportation systems.

Tipping Point Transition From Animal Meats
Tipping Point Transition From Animal Meats
2045 (+/- 5 years)
1 Generation From Now (from 2020 CE)

By 2045 or so, we’ll reach a tipping point where 60% of the meat consumed is plant-based and lab-grown meats. By this date, the quality will exceed animal farming and be cheaper. The key to this tipping point is that the quality will be more consistent, taste as good as the best meats, but cost less than the cheapest meats. By 2100, over 90% of meat consumed will be plant-based or lab-grown meats.

Analysis: The choice of 2045 as the tipping point for this dietary transformation is grounded in several converging trends. The acceleration of technological advancements in food science is expected to continue, making alternative meats more appealing and accessible. Secondly, the trend of young people embracing it combined with the death of set-in-their-ways elder, will cascade the trend. Thirdly, the investors in the stock market will run from meat-based companies causing a collapse in the industry similar in impact to the tabacco industry. Forthly, the intensifying impact of climate change motivates stronger global regulatory actions and shifts in public sentiment towards more sustainable consumption practices. By 2100, we will have had three plus full generations of transition and adoption. The eating of slaughterhouse meats will be limited to the rich and esoteric and largely frowned upon by society. 

A Unified Origin Story
A Unified Origin Story
2080: 60 Years From Now (+/- 10 years)

After millennia of myth-based narratives, humanity finally embraces a unified origin story grounded in compelling scientific evidence. By 2080, the scientific understanding of our emergence will become universally accepted. This transformation began in the early 21st century with reforms in science education, increased public awareness, and the integration of empirical evidence into cultural narratives. As the decades progressed, societies around the world adopted this scientifically accurate story of human origins, reconciling it with traditional beliefs and fostering a deeper appreciation for our shared history. Religions evolve too, as they always do. They embrace the empirical story and focus their efforts on intertwining scientific understanding into their stories and exploring and explaining the unknown and unknowable. By mid-century, this narrative will permeate all aspects of education, media, and public discourse, culminating in a semi-global consensus. This unified empirical origin story will serve as a foundation for cooperation, innovation, and a shared vision for the future.

Analysis: The journey to a unified origin story is rooted in the increasing accessibility of scientific knowledge and the growing emphasis on critical thinking. As global education systems prioritized empirical evidence and rational inquiry, the scientific narrative of human origins will gain traction. Influential public figures, media, and technological advancements will play crucial roles in disseminating this knowledge, making it relatable and engaging for diverse audiences. This shift will be further supported by the reconciliation of scientific and traditional narratives, allowing for a more inclusive and tolerant understanding. People will no longer ignore empirical evidence, and personal beliefs will transition from focusing on rewriting reality to embracing reality and exploring the unknown and unknowable. While we can figure out the currently unknown, by definition, we can never know the unknowable.

1:1 Human-Android Ratio by 2090
1:1 Human-Android Ratio by 2090
2090: 65 Years From Now (+/- 30 years)
Verified. Ratonally predicted. Timeline speculative.
<3 Generations From Now (from 2020 CE)

By 2090, the integration of androids into everyday human life may shift from the realms of science fiction to everyday reality. This shift will be driven by advancements in artificial intelligence, robotics, and societal acceptance. As we gaze into the next half-century, the path to achieving a 1:1 ratio of humans to androids presents both groundbreaking opportunities and formidable challenges. The odds of achieving a 1:1 ratio hinge on these critical factors, with the potential for either a harmonious integration or a conflicted coexistence shaping the late 21st century.

Speculative Timeline:
2040 to 2050: This period might see a surge in the production and implementation of androids in sectors where precision, efficiency, and risk management are paramount—such as healthcare, manufacturing, and disaster response. Governments begin to establish frameworks for android rights and responsibilities, sparking debates on ethics and the nature of intelligence.

2050-2060: As human lives become more enriched by this resource, android technology becomes more affordable and widespread, reaching into homes as caretakers and companions. By 2065, major urban areas report that androids make up approximately 25% of their operational workforce. This period also marks the onset of significant pushback from human labor groups, leading to the first global conference on Human-Android Economic Coexistence.

2070-2080: Social Normalization and Backlash. The android presence in personal and social settings becomes normalized. However, this integration is not seamless, as societal divisions emerge over android rights. The “Human First” movement gains momentum, advocating for strict limitations on android capabilities and roles. Simultaneously, a counter-movement pushes for complete android autonomy.

2080-2090: Technological Harmony or Discord? Breakthroughs in android emotional intelligence occur, allowing for deeper human-android relationships. These relationships challenge existing social norms and provoke a reevaluation of what it means to be “alive.” Androids start to participate in creative and decision-making processes, leading to joint human-android innovations.

2090: The Tipping Point. By 2090, the global ratio of androids to humans is approaching 1:1. This equilibrium brings new governance challenges, as androids seek—and in some regions, achieve—legal personhood. Economies adapt to a new labor paradigm, emphasizing creative and interpersonal skills where humans excel.

World Population: 10.5 Billion (+/- 1 Billion)
Concept of population with globe and toy people
2100: 75 Years From Now
3 Generations From Now (from 2020 CE)

This estimate aligns with the medium-variant projection from major demographic studies like those conducted by the United Nations, which predict that the population could be between approximately 9.3 billion and 11.3 billion by the end of the century.

Kardashev Type I: Planetary Civilization
Kardashev Type I: Planetary Civilization
2175: 150 Years From Now (+/- 50 Years)
Speculative. Informed by accelerated technological trends and empirical data.
6 Generations From Now (from 2020 CE)

Kardashev scale: Type I | Type II | Type III
(A framework introduced by the Soviet astronomer Nikolai Kardashev in 1964.)

Essentially 100% renewable and/or clean energy: I have expanded Type I from merely capturing Earth’s energy to producing an equivalent amount of energy, focusing on renewable and clean sources. The goal is to match the potential energy output from all sources but achieved entirely through renewable or clean energy methods. While the focus is on renewable and clean energy, allowances might exist for minimal uses of traditional fuels, such as preserving vintage cars for cultural purposes. The broadening of the definition from merely capturing to producing energy enables advances in technology. So, while the original definition focused only on known renewable energy sources and technology imagined at the time, this new  approach enables potentially revolutionary methods such as advanced nuclear fusion, artificial photosynthesis, or other innovative means to generate power. This not only encompasses direct energy capture from natural sources but also the synthesis of new energy forms, making energy management more versatile and robust.

According to the original definition, this level of civilization can harness all the non-renewable energies like fossil fuels as well as all renewable sources like solar, wind, geothermal, and other natural energy sources. According to physicist Michio Kaku, achieving Type I status is a multi-millennial project that includes not only utilizing these energy resources but also theoretically controlling weather patterns and seismic activities. The original definition also proposed building cities on the ocean.

Reach: Homo sapiens expand to fully utilize Earth’s surface, including significant populations living underground and in orbit. Our reach extends to the Moon and Mars, where we occupy their surfaces and orbits. Agreements among diverse human groups facilitate genetic manipulation, allowing controlled evolution of Homo sapiens. This ensures that all genetic changes are consensual across all factions, giving us complete control over our evolutionary path.

Effects: No matter how we get to Type I, energy worries no longer exist and the energy needs of individuals are essentially free. At this stage, we have so much energy that no one on Earth pays to move their personal vehicles or power their home. Perhaps businesses will pay a very small fee to run their businesses up to a certain point. Beyond that, energy would cost more, but the energy needed for most entrepreneurial innovation would be within reach. This would include the energy needed to build and use vehicles around the globe. These vehicles would likely be built and maintained by AI-controlled robots. While costing a bit more, this would include many types of projects including building cities on the ocean, vehicles moving to and from the moon and space stations, and to and from Mars.

Estimates for when humanity might achieve Type I status—or its equivalent—typically range from the next 100 to 200 years. Michio Kaku suggests that we might reach Type I status within the next few centuries. The progression towards this status is evident in our increasing global energy consumption and advances in renewable energy technologies. 

Biological Immortality
Biological Immortality
2200: 175 Years From Now (+/- 50 years)
7 Generations From Now (from 2020 CE)

Biological immortality, or negligible senescence, is not invincibility against accidents or violence, but rather the cessation of aging and the ability to prevent or cure all diseases, including genetic disorders. Essentially, it involves maintaining the body and its functions in a youthful state indefinitely. The key components of biological immortality include gene editing, disease cure and prevention, and aging process interruption.

I think we’ll attain biological immortality by about 2200 because rapid advancements in gene editing, disease treatment, cellular repair, and aging research, combined with the convergence of AI, biotech, and nanotech, will lead to a comprehensive understanding and control of human biology, enabling the cessation of aging and the prevention or cure of all diseases, including genetic disorders, thereby achieving negligible senescence and biological immortality.

Alien Communication Expected Date
radio telescope at sunset, 3d illustration
2325: 300 Years From Now
Highly speculative. Rationally deduced with supporting empirical data.
12 Generations From Now (from 2020 CE)

The estimate of 300 years from now, give or take a century, marks a speculative point when we might reasonably expect a response from extraterrestrial life. This prediction takes the centennial anniversary of the Arecibo message into account, a significant milestone in human history. It was the first high-powered, targeted broadcasts sent into space. As our signals continue to radiate outward and our listening technologies improve, the coming centuries represent a hopeful window for making the first contact, according to the complex calculations inspired by the Fermi Paradox. It takes into account the vastness of space, signal decay over immense distances, and the relatively short time humans have been sending out detectable signals. It also factors in variables like the advanced civilizations’ emergence, technological capabilities, and the likelihood of their signals or ours traversing the vast interstellar distances successfully.

Prior to us sending out interesting light signals, the chances of extraterrestrial life deciding to visit us was small. Within 100 light-years, it’s estimated there might be 100,000 planets. Space is vast so making such a long journey without seeing interesting light or another “signal” is not likely. All this means, the longer we send out light, especially in the form of radio waves and directed communication, the better the odds we can make contact.

Post Human Evolution
beautiful woman human robot artificial intelligence
3100: 1,100 Years From Now (+/- 200 years)
Speculative. Informed by accelerated technological trends and empirical data.
44 Generations From Now

The transformation or emergence of beings that have transcended current human biological and cognitive limitations. This could be achieved through advanced genetic engineering, cybernetic enhancements, or the development of entirely new forms of consciousness within AI systems. A group of our descendants are likely to attain God-like abilities over matter and energy at a level of technological and scientific mastery that allows for manipulation of the physical world in ways currently considered impossible. This could include control over fundamental forces, creation of life, terraforming planets, manipulating quantum states, and potentially even affecting the structure of space-time. The start of this process has already occurred, for example with CRSPR technology, and post human evolution could start much sooner, or perhaps much later.

Analysis: Based on the exponential pace of technological advancements, particularly in fields like genetics and artificial intelligence. We will achieve significant milestones sooner due to breakthroughs in understanding and applying biological and computational principles.

Mars Terraforming: Greening the Red Planet
Mars Terraforming: Greening the Red Planet
3825: 1,800 Years From Now (+/- 200 years)

By 3825, humanity will embark on terraforming Mars, a monumental task that will take decades, if not centuries, to complete. The primary objectives will be to create a livable atmosphere, oceans, and transform the top 18 inches of Martian soil into a fertile ecosystem, a stark reminder of the delicate biosphere on Earth. This process will involve introducing genetically engineered microorganisms, plants, and animals into suitable ecotopes, carefully crafted niche environments.

Cutting-edge technologies, including advanced robotics, artificial intelligence, biotechnology, and possibly nanotechnology, will be crucial to this endeavor. Autonomous robots will release greenhouse gases, followed by the creation of a breathable atmosphere using advanced gas processing technologies. Self-reproducing robots may build machines that generate an atmosphere, and colossal tree planters could introduce genetically modified organisms that thrive in the harsh Martian environment.

As the planet becomes more hospitable, human settlers will arrive, bringing innovative solutions for managing the Martian environment, such as climate engineering and geoengineering. Over the next thousand years, Mars will transform into a thriving hub of human activity, complete with sprawling cities, lush ecosystems, and a vibrant culture. This technological leap, combined with sophisticated climate engineering techniques, will set the stage for the gradual rebirth of Mars, turning the red planet green.

Analysis: Setting the commencement of terraforming 1,800 years into the future allows ample time for humanity to perform and adjust the necessary societal, ethical, and environmental analyses, ensuring a careful and thorough approach to this monumental task. This reference point is admittedly a guesstimate, but reflects the immense scale of the challenge and is based on a our current technological trajectory. It relies on the continued rapid progress in fields like space exploration, renewable energy, biotechnology, genetics, and AI. Terraforming is not a one-time project but an ongoing transformation. Even after jumpstarting the Martian atmosphere, it would take centuries, perhaps millennia, for the planet to reach a stable and self-sustaining state. During this time, constant monitoring and adjustments would likely be required, ensuring the terraforming process continues on a desired trajectory. At this point, we’ll have two planets, both evolving life on separate evolutionary paths unless genetic modifications are used to keep them aligned.

Kardashev Type II: Stellar Civilization
Kardashev Type II: Stellar Civilization
4025: 2,000 Years From Now (+/- 1,000 Years)
Speculative. Rationally deduced with supporting empirical data.
80 Generations From Now (from 2020 CE)

Kardashev scale: Type I | Type II | Type III

Renewable and clean power output equals our star: I have redefined Type II to shift away from merely capturing the Sun’s energy to utilizing energy sources that produce power equivalent to that of our star. This adaptation moves away from reliance on technologies like the Dyson Sphere and opens the possibility for advanced methods.

Since Einstein’s equation E=mc2 means energy is matter and matter is energy, at this stage we have the ability to go back and forth effiently enough to produce energy equivalent to our Sun. This might mean significant evolving and scaling up of atomic energies, such as fusion energy, antimatter, and the theoretical harnessing of dark energy, which remain largely speculative but represent the frontier of cosmic energy management. Another potentioal path is stellar harvestors. They would function outside of Earth’s orbit and capture and produce renewable energy equivalent to the Sun.

According to the original definition, a Type II civilization represents a monumental leap in technological and energy management capabilities, where a civilization harnesses all the energy output of its parent star. This achievement would likely involve constructing megastructures such as a Dyson Sphere, a theoretical construct designed to encompass a star entirely, capturing most or all of its energy output. 

Reach: Homo sapiens spread throughout the solar system, making full use of all planets, moons, and major asteroids, as well as the space between them. This includes exploiting all orbital and revolving forces, surface areas, and populations living underground and under-sea on planets, moon, and larger asteroids. While a broad consensus among human factions maintains genetic consistency across most of the population, renegade groups have diverged, embarking on their own evolutionary paths.

Effects: With energy at planetary levels essentially free, humanity could experience a revolution in its living standards, work, and exploratory capabilities. With this level of access to energy, the entrepreneurial innovation of humanity’s creativity aided by robotics and AI appears nearly unlimited. This abundance of energy would likely spur massive innovations, reshaping economic structures and creating industries that seem like science fiction today. The possibility of interstellar spacecraft and space stations floating in space outside Earth’s orbit, and potentially outside the reach of the solar system. This level of access to energy could extend humanity’s reach beyond our solar system, drastically changing our understanding of space and our place within it.

Furthermore, the widespread availability of such energy could significantly reduce global inequalities, laying the groundwork for a more equitable distribution of resources. As societies become more interconnected through advanced space travel and communication technologies, we might see the emergence of a unified global or even interstellar cultural identity.

Estimates: While traditional estimates for achieving Type II status suggest tens of thousands of years, or even much longer to build a Dyson sphere, focusing on producing equivalent energy rather than capturing all of a star’s output could potentially shorten this timeline to thousands of years. This optimistic scenario relies on exponential advancements in robotics, AI, and energy technologies.

Kardashev Type III: Galactic Civilization
Kardashev Type III: Galactic Civilization
10,000 Years From Now (+/- 5,000 Years)
Speculative. Rationally predicted and supported by empirical data.
400 Generations From Now (from 2020 CE)

Kardashev scale: Type I | Type II | Type III

Renewable and clean power output equals our galaxy: I have redefined Type III to shift from merely capturing the energy of a galaxy to utilizing energy sources that produce power equivalent to that of our entire galaxy. This adaptation moves beyond the traditional focus on megastructures like Dyson Spheres or Swarms encasing multiple stars and opens possibilities for advanced galactic energy management methods.

Since Einstein’s equation E=mc2 suggests that energy and matter are interchangeable, at this stage, civilizations could theoretically convert galactic matter into energy efficiently enough to produce power on a galactic scale. Using AI-controlled robots with nearly unlimited energy, they could gather materials, reproduce an army of robots, send them to the next source, while finishing up harnessing the current materials. This might include advanced forms of energy production such as harnessing the rotational energy of the galaxy, utilizing the gravitational forces of supermassive black holes, and perhaps the theoretical extraction of energy from dark matter or dark energy, which remain speculative but represent the frontier of cosmic-scale energy management.

According to the original definition, a Type III civilization represents an extraordinary leap in technological and energy management capabilities, where a civilization harnesses the energy output equivalent to that of its entire galaxy. This achievement would likely involve not just constructing but also managing complex networks of energy harvesters throughout the galaxy, potentially linking star systems with vast arrays of energy transmitters and receivers.

This interpretation of the original concept lends credibility to my modifications of Type I and II towards the notion of equivalent energy. At the very least, considering that Type III may involve harnessing energy equivalent to all outputs within a galaxy, my adjustments to Type I and II represent a logical extension rather than a radical departure from Kardashev’s original ideas.

Reach: Homo sapiens extend beyond our solar system to inhabit large, redundant space stations throughout this quadrant of the Milky Way galaxy and around its stars. While agreements among factions have kept most populations genetically similar, advancing as a collective when consensus is reached, interactions—including agreements and conflicts—with renegade groups that have evolved into different species are now commonplace. This includes the occassional major war.

Most scientists believe that evolutionary forces are abundant and common in life throughout the universe, leading many to posit that intelligent life has already evolved and is abundant across the cosmos. If these assertions hold true, this stage of human expansion would likely involve interactions not just with divergent human groups but also with extraterrestrial civilizations. These encounters could range from peaceful exchanges to conflicts, echoing the historical interactions among different Homo species on Earth. Such interstellar interactions, including occasional major wars, might become a regular aspect of life, as humanity navigates the complex dynamics of a galaxy inhabited by multiple intelligent species, each with its own culture, technology, and territorial claims.

Effects: With energy on a galactic scale essentially limitless, humanity could experience unprecedented advancements in living standards, technological capabilities, and cosmic exploration. With this level of access to energy, the possibilities for innovation and creativity could be boundless, likely driving monumental advancements in technology and enabling the development of societies across different star systems. The potential for constructing megastructures, inhabiting and terraforming new worlds, and possibly even manipulating the fundamental forces of the universe could become feasible.

The widespread availability of such energy could lead to a significant transformation in how civilizations view and distribute resources, potentially eradicating energy scarcity and dramatically reducing inequalities across star systems. As societies become interconnected through advanced galactic travel and communication technologies, a unified intergalactic cultural identity might emerge, profoundly changing our understanding of community and cooperation on a cosmic scale.

Estimates: While traditional estimates for achieving Type III status suggest hundreds of thousands to millions of years, focusing on producing equivalent energy rather than capturing all of a galaxy’s output could potentially shorten this timeline.

With the aid of previous advancements, type III might be acheivable in just 10,000 years from now. This relies on exponential growth in previous technologocal advancements. This optimistic scenario relies on exponential advancements in energy, quantum computing, AI, robotics, and other yet-to-be-invented technologies. This envisions a future where energy and our current obstables are not a limiting factor for civilizational development.

New North Star
New North Star
13,000 Years From Now
Verified. Empirically supported and rationally deduced.
520 Generations From Now

Right now Polaris is our North Star. In 13,000 years it will be Vega. The Earth spins as it revolves around the Sun, but the North Pole is always pointing toward the North Star, Polaris. The Earth spins and only wobbles a tiny bit over millennia as it revolves around the Sun, and our Sun revolves around a pretty flat Milky Way galaxy. Our solar system, like a thrown frisbee, stays pretty flat in space. The wobble described above is called the axial precession in scientific terms. That’s the North Pole moving in a small circle when compared to the sky. This axial tilt causes the celestial poles to align closely with specific stars, for now, Polaris in the Northern Hemisphere. The Earth’s wobble, or axial precession, is slow, about 26,000 years per wobble cycle. At about 13,000 years through the cycle, the Northern Star will be Vega, not Polaris.

Next Global Ice Age
Aerial view of a big city with building roofs covered by snow. Clip. Flying above frozen city and a
Within 100,000 Years From Now
Speculative. Ratonally predicted and supported by empirical data.

Geological and astronomical models predict that Earth is due for another glacial period within the next 100,000 years, possibly plunging much of the planet into ice. This event will significantly impact ecosystems, sea levels, and potentially human civilizations, depending on technological advancements and societal adaptations.

Brand New Constellations
Top view of astrologer hands
1 Million Years From Now
Verified. Empirically supported and rationally deduced.

The constellations we recognize today will be vastly different in a million years due to what astromers call “proper motion” of stars. This will transform our night sky, creating new constellations from stars that have shifted positions, presenting future astronomers with a completely new celestial map to study. Because of stellar motion, our current Star Catalogue will evolve, making the sky look different, but it will still be filled with stars, as I explain in my End of the Universe Explained article. No current constellation will remain intact. Remarkably, Earth will continue to have a North Star, despite the 26,000-year cyclical wobble of Earth’s poles. Vega served as the North Star 13,000 years ago and will do so again; over a million years, both Polaris and Vega will continue to reprise their roles in this cycle.

New Pangaea Proxima Supercontinent
Owen is the best GG, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
250 Million Years From Now
Speculative. Ratonally predicted.

We can measure the movement of continents very precisely. Their future locations are a simple exercise in the empirical sciences. Predictive models like “Pangaea Proxima” (sometimes called “Next Pangaea” or “NeoPangaea”) predict the formation of a new supercontinent in about 250 million years, potentially sooner. This model sees “ALL” of Earth’s continents coming together to form a single massive landmass. Perhaps even with South America and Africa coming back together!

If this potential continent forms, it will be similar to the ancient supercontinent Pangaea, which existed about 335 to 175 million years ago during the late Paleozoic and early Mesozoic eras. This massive landmass could dramatically alter global climate patterns, biodiversity hotspots, and even human geopolitical landscapes. This model, the Pangaea Proxima model, is but leading model of several about how the continents will rearrange in the distant future.

Milky Way-Andromeda Collision
Milky Way-Andromeda Collision
4.5 Billion Years From Now
Verified. Ratonally predicted.

The Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies are expected to collide and merge into a single elliptical galaxy. Despite the dramatic nature of this event, the vast distances between stars mean that direct stellar collisions are unlikely.

Imagined picture of what the Andromed galaxy might look like in the night sky from Earth as the two galaxies begin their collision.
Death of the Sun
Death of the Sun
5 Billion Years in the Future
Verified. Ratonally predicted.

The death of our Sun is estimated to occur in about 5 billion years. Around this point, life on Earth will become uninhabitable. There will likely be life here right up until there’s not. Most humans will have left the planet many millions of years prior to this point. Also, the merging of the Andromeda and Milky Way galaxies will have started about 500 million years earlier. 

Degradation of Earth’s Orbit
Degradation of Earth’s Orbit
50 Billion Years From Now
Speculative. Ratonally predicted.

In about 50 to 100 billion years, then over tens of billions of years, gravitational interactions with other bodies and the loss of mass by the Sun as it becomes a white dwarf could cause the remaining planets’ orbits, including Earth’s (if it survives the Sun’s red giant phase), to decay or become unstable.

Black Dwarf Sun
Black Dwarf Sun
1 to 37 Quadrillion Years From Now
Highly speculative. Rationally deduced.

Over an incredibly long timescale, the Sun’s white dwarf remnant could cool enough to become a black dwarf, a theoretical stellar remnant that emits no light. Although speculative, theoretical models give us insight into the lifespan of the Sun as a white dwarf. After transitioning into a white dwarf, the Sun is expected to cool and fade over an extraordinarily long period. It is theorized that, eventually, it will become a black dwarf — a cold, dark stellar remnant that no longer emits significant heat or light. This transformation could take place sometime after 1 quadrillion years — that’s 1,000 sets of a trillion years! Moreover, some estimates extend this timeline by a factor of up to 37, pushing the boundaries of our understanding of stellar evolution and the future of the cosmos. The eventual cessation of white dwarf stars, including our Sun, represents one of the universe’s far future events. However, these estimates are highly speculative, reliant on theoretical models of stellar cooling that project far beyond our current empirical observations. Given that the universe itself is not yet old enough for any black dwarfs to exist, this prediction is rooted more in our extrapolation of physical laws than in direct evidence.

Lambda Model: Heat Death of the Universe
Lambda Model: Heat Death of the Universe
1+ Googol Years From Now
Highly speculative. Rationally deduced.

The Lambda Cold Dark Matter model of the universe predicts a Big Freeze. The Big Freeze is projected sometime after 10100 years from now. That’s a set of googol years from now. After billions is trillions then quadrillion. After quadrillions is Quintillion, Sextillion, Septillion, Octillion, Nonillion, Decillion, and finally a GOOGOL. This number is beyond most, let alone this duration of years. It gives you an idea of how long the universe will last. And, if this bothers you, remember, this is a worst case scenario. Read my The End of the Universe Explained for more details. 

The heat death of the universe represents the ultimate fate of all matter and energy within the cosmos, according to the second law of thermodynamics. In this scenario, the universe will have expanded to such an extent, and its matter and energy will be distributed so evenly, that no further work can be done, and all dynamic processes cease. The universe reaches a state of maximum entropy, where temperature differences vanish, leaving behind a uniform, cold, and lifeless cosmos.

This transformation is expected to occur on timescales well beyond 10^100 years, a number so vast it dwarfs all conventional measures of time. The concept of heat death emerges from extrapolating known physical laws over unimaginable epochs, leading to a universe devoid of the energy gradients necessary to sustain motion, life, or light.

While the heat death scenario is grounded in the principles of thermodynamics and cosmology, it remains highly speculative due to the extrapolation required and the many unknown variables about the universe’s future evolution. Current models suggest that such a state would mark the end of the observable universe as a dynamic, structured entity. However, this vision of the cosmos’s end is based on our current understanding of physical laws, which may evolve with future discoveries and theoretical advancements.

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4 Minutes with Mike Prestwood: Weekly Wisdom Builder
May 26, 2024 Edition
Time Left: 
Wisdom at the crossroads of knowledge.

Wisdom emerges from the consistent exploration of the intersections of philosophy, science, critical thinking, and history.

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