10 Crazy “What If” Scenarios


The universe is a vast and mysterious place, and there are so many scenarios where almost anything can happen. Have you ever considered what would happen if the Earth doubled in size? Or what would happen if the supercontinent Pangaea never broke up? Even if you haven’t thought of those specific questions, these ‘what if’ scenarios show how amazing and mind boggling the Earth and the universe can be.

10. What Would Happen if Everyone Jumped at the Same Time and the Same Place?

In August 2012, The YouTube channel VSauce posed a question that many of us have probably only considered if we’re visiting Amsterdam or Colorado. His question: what if we somehow gathered up all seven billion people on Earth, stood shoulder-to-shoulder, and then at the same time, everyone jumped? While the logistics of the project would be a nightmare, we actually wouldn’t need that much space; probably about the size of Los Angeles.

So when we all jumped a foot in the air, would we be strong enough to move the earth when we landed? Or cause an earthquake? Amazingly, we’d actually be powerful enough to move the Earth. However, we wouldn’t notice. It would only move 1/100 of the width of a single hydrogen atom and it wouldn’t even last, because the earth would bob back up again. So in terms of world projects, let’s scrap this one.

9. What Would Happen if the Magnetic Poles Reversed?

One of the most feared Earthly events (that’s bound to happen sometime in the future) is the reversing of Earth’s magnetic field. That means that the North Pole will become the South Pole, and vice versa. We should also point out that this reversal does not mean that the Earth itself will physically turn over, just its magnetic poles. That means if you’re standing on the equator with a compass, Canada and Russia will be on the top of the Earth, but the compass will say they are south, while Antarctica and Australia will be on the bottom of the planet, but they will be north according to the compass.

We know that this flip will happen because it’s already flipped several hundred times in the history of Earth. The last one happened 780,000 years ago. That means the reversal could happen again at any time.

How will this affect the Earth and us humans who live on it? One thing to remember is that it isn’t like flipping a light switch. Instead, it’s a process that can take anywhere from 1,000 to 10,000 years. So we won’t experience flooding or earthquakes or anything like that.

When it does start to happen, one thing that we may have a problem with is a weakened electrical field. That field helps block radiation from the sun. In the weakened field, this may punch holes in the ozone layer, which could increase skin cancer.

Also, another major problem would be satellites. They can be damaged by solar storms and a bombardment of solar radiation might be too much for them to handle. This could lead to disruptions with technologies that rely on satellites, like smart phones. Either satellites will have to be developed to deal with the solar radiation, or we will have to find alternatives.

8. What Would Happen If You Fired a Gun in Space?

Modern guns and ammunition don’t need oxygen to fire. That means they will work in space. If you did fire a gun in space, the smoke will come out of the barrel in a sphere. The bullet will fly off forever because the universe is always expanding. Well, unless it hits Sean Bean, which movies tell us is probably inevitable. Meanwhile, you will be pushed backwards because of the kickback of the gun. This would be bad news because unless you’re tethered to something, you will simply float away because there is no resistance to stop you. You would simply continue to float until you died from lack of oxygen or dehydration.

It’s also possible to shoot yourself in the back in space. If you are in freefall near a planet and you shoot, the bullet can orbit around the planet, and depending on where the kickback pushes you, it’s possible for the bullet come back and hit you in the back.

Finally, we never want to encourage suicide… however, if you happen to be on the moon with a handgun and you need to shoot yourself in the back, get to the top of a lunar mountain, fire a bullet that goes 3,560 miles per hour at the horizon… and then it could come back and hit you in the back.

7. What Would Happen if the Moon Disappeared?

In Despicable Me, the main character, Gru, plots to steal the moon. Sure, it’s an ambitious plan, but would it really affect Earth if the moon disappeared?

One major thing we’d notice oceans is that tides won’t be as strong. The reason the moon impacts the tides comes down to Newtonian gravity. When you’re closer to something, gravity increases. So when an ocean or loose earth is facing the moon, it essentially reaches towards the moon and this draws water away from the shore. However, the tides wouldn’t completely disappear because the sun impacts them too.

Also, without the moon pushing the tides, the rotation of the Earth will slow down. This, in turn, will make the days longer over thousands of years.

However, in the long run, the lack of a moon would become an even bigger problem because the moon helps keep the Earth stable on its tilted axis. The moon helps prevent gravitational forces from outside of the Earth, like from other planets, from effecting Earth’s tilt. Without the moon, the Earth’s tilt could vary by 85 degrees. That means, without the moon, the Earth would change its tilt every few million years between the sun rotating around the equator and rotating around the poles. This would lead to dramatic shifts in climates.

6. What Would’ve Happened if Pangaea Didn’t Break Up?

About 300 million years ago, the supercontinent Pangaea formed from other continental units. It started to break up about 175 million years ago and the continents slowly drifted to where they are today, making it the last of the supercontinents.

However, what if it never broke up and it stayed a supercontinent? Well, the bad news is that humans probably wouldn’t have evolved. A major driving force in developing new species from existing ones is geographical isolation. When a species is isolated, it leads to new traits evolving because creatures experience different selective pressures.

Another problem for species diversification is that most of the land on Earth would be arid and hot because it would be centered on the equator, and moisture carrying clouds would lose their moisture going inland. This type of climate would be good for reptiles, but not so much for mammals.

5. What Would Happen if the World Doubled in Size?

Let’s say you went to bed and woke up the next morning, and suddenly the world had doubled in size. This includes doubling in mass, as well. Providing your bed didn’t collapse under you, the first thing you’ll notice is that you feel really heavy. That’s because the Earth’s gravity would double as well, and that means everything is twice as heavy. That means you would have to start to walk around and do stuff while, in essence, wearing a body suit made up of your own weight.

Depending on your size, your bones and joints would struggle with the weight. Our hearts would also be in serious trouble because with more gravity, our extremities would pool with blood. In order to deal with the pooling, your blood pressure would have to double.

Eventually, humans would evolve and become stronger, especially in the lower half of the body. Our legs would become much stronger to support our weight.

Another big thing you’d notice is that tall trees would start to collapse because of the weight, and they’d never grow again. With twice the gravity, it would be harder to get water from the roots to the top of the trees. Instead, small trees might grow, or trees may never grow again.

4. What Would’ve Happened if the Dinosaurs Didn’t Go Extinct?

About 66 million years ago, 80 percent of life on Earth was wiped out. This includes the dinosaurs. There are several potential culprits in killing them off, such as a comet or an asteroid or a supervolcano. Or possibly Jeff Goldblum. The point is, we can’t be sure.

However, the Cretaceous-Paleocene extinction was most likely a combination event and the death blow was a six-mile wide asteroid that hit the Earth in the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico. This caused mass wildfires and a lot of ash and dust got into the atmosphere, which cooled the planet and killed off a lot of the vegetation.

But what if that asteroid never hit Earth and the dinosaurs weren’t killed in a massive die off? Well, according to Damian Nance, a professor of Geosciences at Ohio University, there’s a good chance they’d still be alive today. After all, dinosaurs ruled the Earth for 160 million years before they were wiped out, so unless there was another catastrophic event, like the rise of a dinosaur disease, there is a good chance they would have carried on living at the top of Earth’s food chain.

There’s even some speculation based on the way dinosaur brains were evolving before the extinction that if they had not died off, dinosaurs could have evolved to have “human-like” intelligence.

As for humans in this alternate reality, there is a good chance they wouldn’t have evolved. Mammals did live alongside dinosaurs, but they filled in niches and never became bigger than the size of rodents. They only evolved in the wake of the death of the dinosaurs because there was more food, less competition for it, and fewer mammal-eating predators.

3. What Would Happen if the Sun Died?

If the sun were to stop working, it would take a while for it to cool down, similar to putting something warm in the refrigerator. The bad news is that we’d feel the impact within a week. In 2015, the average temperature on Earth was 58.3 degrees Fahrenheit. Well, within a week of the sun dying, the average temperature would drop to 0 degrees. Then, within a year, average temperatures would drop to -100. This would kill most plant life and the surface of the oceans would freeze. However, it would take hundreds of thousands of years for them to freeze solid because the surface ice would insulate the depths. After several million years, our planet would be a constant, balmy temperature of -400 degrees.

As for what humans could do? We could live in nuclear or geothermal habitats, or in submarines in the deepest parts of the ocean. Of course, food would become tough to come by because vegetation needs the sun to grow, and on the surface, only large trees would survive more than a few years.

Finally, while the sun plays an important part in heating the Earth, it’s also important because it keeps us in orbit. If the sun were to die off, the Earth, which would now be a ball of ice, would stop circling and fly off into space.

2. What Happened if You Jumped Into a Hole Drilled Through the Middle of the Earth?

We want to start this one off by saying that it would be impossible to actually make a tunnel from one side of the Earth to the other. However, in theory, if we could dig through the Earth and you jumped in, what would happen?

If you ignore the rotation of the earth and friction, and dropped into the hole, you would start off at a speed of zero. You’d pick up speed as you got closer to the center of the Earth, reaching speeds of 17,671 miles per hour. However, once you pass the center of the Earth, you would decelerate, and by the time you reached the hole on the other side of the Earth, you’d reach a speed of zero again, and pop out of the hole. The whole trip would take you 42 minutes, and hopefully you’d have a quip ready for the people waiting on the other side, like “I must have taken a wrong turn at Albuquerque!” Or something else. We don’t know. You’d have time to think of a great line while plummeting through the planet, is what we’re saying.

1. What Would Happen if You Fell Into a Black Hole?

Black holes are one of the most perplexing and intriguing mysteries of the universe. Have you ever thought what would happen if you were to fall into one? Well, it’s one of those good news/bad news type of scenarios. It will also be a much different experience for people who may happen to see you fall into the black hole.

For people who watch you fall in, they would see you get closer to the event horizon (which is the point of no return), and as you did, they would see you stretch and contort, and then they would see you slow down. Then you’d freeze, as if someone hit the pause button, and then they’d see you engulfed by the heat of the event horizon and all you’d leave behind is ashes.

As for you, the first thing that would happen is that you’d be cloned, and the clone would be incinerated. That’s the “you” that your fellow space travelers saw turn to ash. However, you wouldn’t know that you were cloned and as you passed the event horizon, you wouldn’t feel anything; you’d be in freefall because gravity wouldn’t exist.

If you happen to fall into a small black hole, the bad news is that the force would stretch you like a piece of spaghetti. If it were a big black hole, like one that’s millions of times the size of the sun, you’d continue to freefall and beyond the event horizon, the laws of physics break down. Time and space don’t really exist and you’ll continue to be pulled towards singularity, which is a rupture in the space-time continuum. It is at the center of the black hole where space becomes infinitely curved. What happens there is anyone’s guess. It could be another dimension, another part of space, or even behind a bookcase in the past.

Robert Grimminck is a Canadian freelance writer. You can friend him on Facebook, follow him on Twitter, follow him on Pinterest or visit his website, or his true crime YouTube channel.

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