Many physicists now believe the universe will end by tearing itself apart — and now it appears that this could happen sooner than anyone expected. Originally, scientists hypothesized that the Big Rip would happen in 20 to 22 billion years based on a reasonable set of parameters — but now it sounds as though we may not have that much time left. And the end of the universe could be much stranger than the graceful "heat death" we've all been looking forward to.
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