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What If You Traveled To The End Of Time? | Unveiled

VOICE OVER: Noah Baum WRITTEN BY: Caitlin Johnson
If time travel to the future is theoretically possible... then how far ahead can we really go? In this video, Unveiled discovers what it would be like to time travel to the END OF TIME itself! What would you see? How would you feel? And would you live to tell the tale? The fate of the universe is one of the greatest mysteries there is... How will it all end? But you would have front row seats to the action...
Transcript

What if You Traveled to the End of Time?


Everything has to end eventually. Our days, when the Earth completes one rotation; our years, as it makes its way through all of the seasons; and the decades pass one after another after another. Humans, just like all living creatures, have a limited lifespan. One day, they’ll die and so will everything else out there; the Earth, the sun, the whole galaxy… but what about reality itself?

This is Unveiled, and today we’re answering the extraordinary question; what if you travelled to the end of time?

Practically every belief system has its own depiction of an “end time”, a prophesised apocalyptic scenario that it’s believed will one day happen. It may involve the second coming of a figure like Jesus Christ, a battle with the forces of evil, or just a general spate of large-scale, across the board ruin and destruction known as Judgement Day. Even with the likes of Buddhism, where rebirth cycles are incredibly important, there are writings about “end times”, where the Buddha is forgotten and society collapses.

There have also been plenty of secular theories about something destroying the world. The Millennium Bug, for example, triggered frantic concerns over computers struggling to cope with the year change from 1999 to 2000 - with some fearing a massive, world-wrecking glitch causing a fairly literal “end of time”. Elsewhere, we’ve seen various other prophecies come and go… including the 2012 apocalypse theories based on the Mayan calendar which billed December 21st of that year as the doomsday moment. It again received plenty of attention, but again didn’t translate into actual annihilation.

But regardless of the apocalypses that so far haven’t happened, for many it’s inevitable that time will one day end - and since time and space are inextricably linked, this future point of incredible destruction can also be generally understood as the end of the universe. There are other ways to interpret the question… Like the death of time equating to the death of the sun, if you take “time” to mean humanity’s method of measuring it… Or perhaps the “end of time” actually passes when Earth itself expires, or when there are no humans left to perceive time in the way that we do. And, as with most conundrums surrounding time, there’s also the question of black holes and the massive, maybe infinite distortions you yourself would experience were you to somehow fall into one. But in terms of a total black-out; the final destination for anything and everything; the end of the universe is the only scenario where it might also be said that time truly stops moving.

So, to see the end of time you’d have to also be present at the end of space – a practical impossibility but a theoretical prospect. We know that time travel into the future is theoretically much simpler than time travel into the past. And there are also various far-future theories on how we might one day achieve immortality, which offer another route to front row seats at the end of all things. With the time travel option, the theoretical problems with traveling back into the past would unfortunately mean you’d never be able to tell anybody that wasn’t already there that you’d seen the end of time… And with the immortality approach you’d have essentially discovered that even everlasting life has its limits… but you’d at least be present to see the ultimate endgame.

In either case, knowing precisely when the end of time will happen is key. Estimates vary wildly, with some theories suggesting that the universe only has a few billion years left to run… while others say that if reality does ever end, it won’t happen for hundreds of billions, perhaps even trillions of years. The window we’ve got to work in, then, is exceptionally wide! But exactly what you’d see when you eventually got to the correct time and place depends on which of the various “end of the universe” theories proves to be the right one. Over the years a lot of predictions have been offered up!

“Heat death”, or the Big Freeze, is a reasonably well-supported idea… where the universe reaches thermodynamic equilibrium and can no longer increase entropy. In other words, it gets too cold to function when, in the far, far future all of the black holes in existence close up, no longer able to even sustain themselves. But there’s also the Big Crunch theory; a now less-popular idea in modern science, but one where it turns out the expansion of the universe we’re currently in the middle of isn’t endless, and that it will one day revert inwards and back towards an eventual collapse.

If neither of those come to pass, there’s also the Big Rip theory, which some predict could happen after an increase in the amount of dark energy present in the universe. Right now, we think the universe is about 68% dark energy… but say it climbed closer to 100%, it could ultimately tear itself apart - condemning everything inside the universe to another inescapable doom. Finally, the Big Bounce is a best-of-all-worlds scenario and arguably the least destructive option, where the universe endlessly expands and contracts forever, as though it’s breathing. In some ways, there actually wouldn’t be an “end of time” in this case, but there would be various stages in a now eternal cycle where next to nothing exists!

However it plays out, if you somehow travelled to the end of time and survived to witness it, you’d be left with… darkness. Blank, literal, total nothingness everywhere. A bottomless void in the truest sense, where even your own existence would actually be impossible. With time and space no more, you yourself couldn’t age, grow or even function. As will have happened with everything else - from planets, to stars to even supermassive black holes - the matter that makes up your body would now be impossible, too. Even in some kind of indescribably futuristic, seemingly indestructible spaceship, you’d be a goner as soon as you arrived at your “end of all things” destination. If time really does end and you really could jump forward to see it, then you’d simply be fast-tracking your own demise.

But perhaps there’s a silver lining to arriving at your own inevitable departure? Seeing as energy can’t be created or destroyed, the residue of the universe - the remnant of space-time - has to go somewhere… particularly if you subscribe to the Big Crunch or Bounce theories! And you would’ve been there at the very close… so perhaps no sooner would you be gone before you’d reappear, at the birthing of a new universe or the beginning of a “new time”.

Regardless of whether you lived, died, were ruthlessly annihilated in the blink of an eye or wondrously reborn into a brand-new reality, however… you’d have played your part in the absolute rarest event in cosmology; a moment to defy description, or even comprehension! And that’s what would happen if you travelled to the end of time.
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