What Will We Miss?

by: Austin Duncan (Google+ and Website) and based on a video by Michael Stevens of VSauce.

Have you ever thought about how short our lives are compared to the rest of existence? The current life expectancy of the average person in the U.S. is 78.64 years (the highest in the world is Andorra which is 83.51 years.) About 80 years on earth in the grand scheme of things is quite short when you truly think about it. Because of how short our lives are, how long the earth has been around, and how long our solar system is estimated to last, we will miss out on a lot.

What Future Events Will We Miss Out On?

First of all, we will probably (and by probably I mean we will) miss the completion of Zeitpyramide, or the Time Pyramid. The pyramid will eventually be constructed of 120 individual concrete blocks. The year it’s supposed to be completed — 3183 AD. That’s because the builders (who started construction on the pyramid in 1993) are only placing a block every 10 years. The final block will eventually be placed by our decedents more than 30 generations away. But even those distant relatives will still be too young to be able to play in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone. This area, where the 1986 disaster occurred, is estimated to remain at radiation levels too high for human interaction until the year 22,000…possibly within human existence. For sure, within the next 1 million years, when stars like Betelgeuse  and Eta Carinae will most likely explode into incredible supernovas that will even be visible from Earth. Stevens said:

I’m bummed I’m probably going to miss out on these events, because for a few weeks it will look almost as if Earth has two suns. Despite being hundreds, thousands of light years away, their supernovas will shine brighter than the full moon at night and be visible even during daytime. But the real sky show will come in 3.7 billion years.

Every star visible to us is in our galaxy, the milky way. However, their is a galaxy that can be seen, as a kind of blurry, almost distant shape. It’s the Andromeda Galaxy. It’s 2.5 million light years away from the Milky Way, and contains twice as many stars as our galaxy. One day it will crash into us. This galaxy isn’t moving slowly either, it’s coming toward us at 300 km/s (190 mi/s) which is about 300 times faster than a bullet. There’s a picture if you click here that will show you what the sky will look like as the Andromeda galaxy collides with out own. If you want to read the full article from NASA about it, click here or in the sources below.  Stevens says:

(The galaxies) will collide in the future, but within the briefness of a single human life, they appear almost frozen, unmoving.

The new name for these two merged galaxies is referred to as Milkdromeda. Stevens also says (far better than I could hope to put it):

It would be so cool to be alive to see our galaxy colliding with another; but don’t get all FOMO, consumed by a Fear Of Missing Out, because whatever life is around then will have plenty to envy us for. They may have spectacular nightly views, but secretly wish they’d been born in our time to experience, say, the beginning of the internet.

What will future people miss out on that we currently take for granted?

Due to the fact that the moon moves away from the earth 1 cm every year, in 600 million years, the moon will no longer be close enough to earth to completely block out the sun. Future life will miss out on getting to see the beauty of a total solar eclipse from earth with their own eyes. Also, long before the earth’s oceans dry up, Niagara Falls will dry up. Not the water part per say, but the actual falls. Each year, the water from the falls erodes the granite 1 foot backwards. By the year 52,000 it will have eroded all the way to Lake Eerie, meaning that the future people will not have Niagara Falls to enjoy. A little bit more depressing for future life, is that in 50 to 100 million years, Saturn will no longer have its rings. That’s because they are slowly getting ejected into outer space.

Future people may have the insane sky and incredible views of the stars, as well as many more things that I’m sure I couldn’t even comprehend, but they won’t have many of the things that makes the Earth (to us)—Earth. That means no Niagara Falls, total solar eclipses, Saturn’s beautiful rings, or witnessing the birth of the internet. So today as you read this, be thankful for what we have right now. No one else that lives during a different time will be able to know and enjoy what we have, so that makes it uniquely special to us. No one else can have what we currently have, and that should at least make us feel a little better about missing out on some of the future events that the earth will experience.

Thank you for reading,


Austin Duncan, Author

Sources are present in the links found throughout this article. The concept of this entire post and its content is highly borrowed from Michael Stevens from VSauce. Look him and his channel up, it’s really interesting.