As the end of December is fast approaching, most of us seem to be caught up in the preparations for the festive season: doing our last minute Christmas shopping, planning New Year’s Eve and writing up lists of potential resolutions we will (or will not) keep in 2013.
However, some people are not so sure Christmas or New Year is going to happen.
According to the Mayan calendar, the world may be coming to an end on the 21st of December 2012.
While many of us choose to sceptically grin at such predictions, some have taken it seriously enough to begin their preparations for the “doomsday” foretold by Mayan hieroglyphs.
Yet, a number of scientists as well as Nasa have explained that the world will not be coming to an end on the predicted date.
In a video published on YouTube, the space agency gave their reasons for why there should be no panic over the world’s end this year.
Nasa have said the prediction is a ‘long-standing misconception’, and the ‘supposed planet’ called Nibru is not heading for Earth to destroy it.
However, even if it may not be happening next week, we wanted to know Labs participants for their thoughts and predictions for the end of the world.
How likely, if at all, is the world to end?
When do you think the world will end, if ever?
If you think it will, what will be the reasons for the end of the world?
Here’s what we found…
Almost all of those who took part thought the world is indeed going to end – someday. Only a very small number of people said the world is going to last forever.
Most of the group believe the world will end in billions of years rather than anytime soon. So it’s time to get your life back on track – instead of anxiously waiting for Friday 21st December.
The world may end for a number of reasons, Labs participants predicted. Some of them were:
The Sun going ‘nova’ (and exploding)
The Sun expanding into a 'red giant' and engulfing the Earth other planets
A natural disaster
Humanity destroying the Earth with pollution
A meteor hitting the Earth
Armageddon – the battle between good and evil
Will humans be around to see it?
Most participants believed humans will not be around to see the end of the world. Yet some participants said they may still be around – but not in the same humanity form we are in now.
Click on the links below to see summarised opinions and participants’ comments.
Click the headings below to see the summary of Labs participants' thoughts, as well as their comments.
Participants who thought the world will end someday
The world will end – in billions of years.
“Eventually all planets die if only because their sun burns out and implodes. However, I think that there is a very strong chance that humanity will destroy the planet (at least in terms of life) well in advance of its natural death” Stephen H, North Yorkshire
“Entropy will eventually wear out and destroy the planet. In about 100 million years' time. Unless the sun goes nova before then... but look, we're talking BILLIONS of years here. Not in the lifetime of anyone alive today” Nyree, Guildford
“Nothing lasts forever. Entropy will see the heat death of everything in time, but the sun will die before then, leaving the earth a lifeless lump of frozen rock and water” Peter, Northumberland
“In five billion years, the sun will use up all of its hydrogen supply and expand to encompass the inner planets, including Earth. To the best of our knowledge, this is inevitable. Furthermore, all atomic nuclei in the universe is expected to decay, making infinite survival of Earth or the human race impossible” Anon
“The earth has existed in its present life-sustaining form for only a small fraction of geological time. To suggest that these conditions will exist for eternity is ridiculous. The sun has a limited lifespan, after which it will die as all stars do. This will obviously mean that conditions on the planets in its solar system will be fundamentally altered. The 'world will end' in the sense that it will no longer be able to sustain human life, at this point. I don't know when this will be, but I'm sure astrophysicists have lots of accurate projections” Anon
The sun will reach the ‘red giant stage’ and engulf the Earth.
“I am inclined to trust those astrophysicists who predict that our sun will follow the pattern of other stars, which they believe will cool and grow much larger, engulfing the planets around them. Not sure of the time scale, but between two and three billion years away rings a bell” Bob Denmark, Garstang
“The Sun will eventually (~5 billion years’ time) die out, but not before growing to a red giant and completely engulfing Earth. So yes, the world is definitely going to end, just not quite yet” Al, Eastbourne
“As part of the lifecycle of the sun, it will swell up to become a red giant and engulf the earth as it does” Anon
“In a few billion years the Sun will expand and devour the Earth” Anon
“The sun will expand into a red giant swallowing the orbit of the Earth and that will be that, although not for something like 4billion years” Malcolm R, Newcastle
The sun will go supernova and explode like many other stars.
“At some point our Sun is going to go into a supernova. This may be billions of years away and we may have moved away from Earth by that time, however, one day, the Earth will inevitably be destroyed, unless we find a way of moving it out of range of the Sun's supernova” Anon
“The sun will go nova at some point, in a few billion years. The solar envelope will extend beyond the Earth's orbit. Ergo, the Earth will cease to be a viable planet” MikeJ
Nuclear war will destroy the Earth – or it will be hit by a comet.
“At some time nuclear war will take place leading to the earth’s destruction” Anon
“Because the world is a planet and is physical. I imagine one day a comet or shooting star will collide, or there will be a nuclear war and most life will be destroyed. Really I mean the world as we know it won't continue. It may be in pieces scattered around the universe. I don't believe anything physical is eternal” Rob, Northumberland
We will bring the world to an end with pollution (and greed).
“Quite simply if the human race doesn't mess it up through corporate and governmental greed destroying the planet for whatever little resources we have left, we'll poison the planet in the process. That or total global warfare. Failing that, eventually an object from space will impact the planet wiping life out. And eventually in around 5 billion years’ time the sun will boil away and engulf the planet as it turns into a red giant” Mr Elston, Derbys
“Just because it will. There's too much greed in the world and countries working against each other” Essex, UK
The end will happen because of religious prophecy.
“Because Jesus said he would come again to save the world. I only said fairly likely as I am not sure when! Could be now for it could be 1000 years!” Anon
Participants who said the world is NOT VERY LIKELY to end, ever
Only a few participants believed the world will never end.
“Because humanity seems to survive regardless. In the events of say nuclear war or an unknown virus etc. Survival is encoded into our DNA. The only way the world is likely to end is if something outside our control/capability occurs resulting in complete destruction of the planet i.e. something regarding the sun, asteroids etc.”
“I'm not sure what evidence there is for this. We've been around for millions of years, it would be strange if the world just suddenly ended” Anon
“I accept the standard Christian doctrine of "a new heaven and a new earth", not that the world is going to end. It's a transition, not a conclusion” John, Blaby