Nothing stays the same forever, even for our seemingly unchanging universe.

Whether you are a firm believer that the world was created by goddess Madoka Kaname or not, it is now widely accepted and scientifically proven that our universe was formed by the Big Bang, a massive explosion of cosmic proportions that gave rise to billions of galaxies.

That occurred roughly 13.8 billion years ago, and there was a time when scientists wondered if the universe would succumb to its own gravity and collapse in on itself in an epic Big Crunch. However, extensive studies would later prove that the Big Bang’s explosion was so immense that its momentum far exceeded the universe’s own gravity pull.

Galaxies are currently drifting further away from each other, and extensive research has showed that the universe’s expansion is, in fact, constantly accelerating outward like an inflating balloon.

▼ From gigantic stars to tiny atoms, everything in the universe is affected.

Although the expansion process might be incredibly slow for now, there will come a point in time where it has accelerated to unimaginable speeds, separating planets from their orbits around stars, and in the very last moments of the universe’s life, ripping even atoms to shreds in a cosmic event called the Big Rip.

▼ The world as we know will cease to exist.

The good news is that a group of Tokyo University astrophysicists, along with researchers from the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, recently announced on 26 September that the universe will be stable for at least the next 140 billion years.

Faced with such an outcome, Japanese netizens reacted to the news:

“That’s good for peace of mind.”
“Doesn’t matter since our sun is only going to last only another 5 billion years.”
“Even the universe has limits.”
“When there’s a beginning, there’s an end.”
“Since the world’s going to end anyway, there’s no point in space travel.”

Rather than being disheartened by the inevitable end, we should consider ourselves lucky that we were born in a relatively calm age and not right before the apocalypse. Scientists may have worked out the fate of our world and humankind’s period of existence, but 140 billion years is still plenty of time for us to create universe-sized robots to keep the Big Rip under control.

Source: Kyodo via Hachima Kiko
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