Hypothetically speaking, if a nearby star were to go supernova, it could eventually reach our blue planet and rip apart our atmosphere. Complex life would cease to exist. That scenario is unlikely says Dr. Dirk Schulze-Makuch, professor of astrobiology at Washington State University. That’s one of nine of possible ways Earth could meet its doom, and there’s only so much we can do about it.
His new book, “Megacatastrophes!”, co-written with David Darling, explores scientific realities we face and how we can simply be aware of them.
First and foremost, Schulze-Makuch and Darling are scientists. They ignore the pop culture paranoia of zombie apocalypse and the ominous Mayan calender. Schulze-Makuch even says that scenario is nonsense. The two writers discuss the realistic scenarios humans face from asteroid impacts, nano-technology to global pandemic.
“I’m not the prophet,” Schulze-Makuch said. “We look at different scenarios and we basically prioritize how dangerous it is and how disastrous it would be.”
Would the scenario result in a million dead or even a billion dead? Schulze-Makuch says a pandemic tops the list with diseases like the Spanish Flu or Black Death. With passenger flights crossing oceans and country borders, disease has no boundaries.