Three Times the World Almost Ended

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Three Times the World Almost Ended PHOTOGRAPH: Flickr/ _Gaspard_ |

North Korea has fired another ballistic missile on Sunday, making this its second in a week. The test fire has caused further concern as to whether the missile launches will spark world war 3.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has shown satisfaction in the test firing of the medium-range ballistic missile over the weekend. The firing of the Pukguksong-2, a ground-to-ground ballistic missile, has been a success and is now ready for mass production and deployment.

“Together with officials, he analyzed the results of the test launch and expressed his great satisfaction over them, saying it is perfect,” KCNA reported, notes CNN. The recent ammunition tests of North Korea has sparked discussion on the imminent nuclear war that may happen very soon. Many have expressed their fear at what could be the end of the world.

No matter if it comes from outer space or initiated by meddling humans, the world’s end is something that’s always looming upon people – and can come when least expected. Unlike casino games, a nuclear war cannot be left to chance and military camps from North Korea, USA and other prominent countries are already getting ready should tensions arise and a nuclear war commences.

There have been, in the past, cases when the world almost ended due to a variety of factors, ranging from volcanic eruptions and actions of humans. Below, you’ll find a handful of these events that you might not have known about at the time.

One step away from a nuclear war

Nuclear war seems a distant possibility today when most atomic powers have signed non-proliferation agreements. Yet in the past, the possibility of nuclear warfare was just around the corner – and some say it was even closer quite a few times in the past. Yet one of the most surprising incidents was not due to politics or warfare but a false alarm – and the fate of the world was in the hands of one person only, Soviet Air Defence Forces lieutenant colonel Stanislav Yevgrafovich Petrov.

Just three weeks after the Soviet military has shot down a Korean civilian plane in 1983, the systems of the Oko nuclear early warning system reported a missile launch from the United States, followed by five more, heading toward Russia. Petrov decided to consider the event a false alarm, and he was right – the satellites mistook a rare alignment of sunlight on high-altitude clouds above North Dakota for a missile launch. By not acting as instructed, Petrov single-handedly prevented a large-scale nuclear war.

The Solar Superstorm of 2012

Scientists have reported a massive coronal mass ejection – better known to the public as a “solar storm” – in July 2012. The enormous mass of particles shot by the Sun in our direction missed our planet by a week (a minuscule miss, considering how vast the distance between the two celestial bodies is). “Earth and its inhabitants were incredibly fortunate that the 2012 eruption happened when it did,” Daniel Baker of the University of Colorado said.

The solar storm of July 2012 was at least as big as the one that hit Earth in 1859. If back then, its only effect was to disrupt telegraph communication and push the Northern Lights as far South as Cuba, today its effects would be devastating – it would send Earth centuries in the past, shutting down our electricity-powered world for months or even years, and causing damages worth over $2 trillion.

The Spanish Flu

Hollywood has been scaring us with a global pandemic for years. Today, in our incredibly connected world, a disease could spread incredibly fast. How fast, you might ask? Well, think of the Spanish Flu and multiply it, too.

The Spanish Flu was an H1N flu pandemic that spread across most of the Northern Hemisphere in 1918. During its full-blown time, it killed around 1 million people every week, finally stopping at up to 100 million deaths – 5% of the complete human population.