Science & Tech

What happens when the Doomsday Clock hits midnight?

What happens when the Doomsday Clock hits midnight?
Doomsday Clock stands at 90 seconds to midnight ‘largely’ due to war …

It’s the end of the world as we know it, but what actually happens when the Doomsday Clock hits midnight?

This week we were told the world is closer to ending than ever before, with the clock moving 10 seconds forward to 90 seconds to midnight.

The clock, which is overseen by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, is a visual representation of how close to oblivion the earth is.

This year, the protracted conflict in Ukraine and the threat of nuclear war has pushed the dial forward closer to midnight than ever.

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“This year, the Science and Security Board of the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists moves the hands of the Doomsday Clock forward, largely (though not exclusively) because of the mounting dangers of the war in Ukraine,” the Bulletin said in its statement. “The Clock now stands at 90 seconds to midnight—the closest to global catastrophe it has ever been.”

But what happens when the clock actually hits midnight?

The clock has never been so close to 12Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Well, the scientists behind the clock are quick to point out that every time the dial moves, it’s intended as a call to action and a warning of the dangers the world currently faces, rather than a hard and fast timescale of our future.

However, people are obviously curious about what would actually happen if and when the clock strikes 12.

The clock has never hit midnight, and Rachel Bronson, who is the CEO of The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, made it very clear that she hopes it never happens.

She said in a release: “When the clock is at midnight, that means there’s been some sort of nuclear exchange or catastrophic climate change that’s wiped out humanity. We never really want to get there and we won’t know it when we do.”

So, let’s be honest, if the time comes that we do reach nuclear war on a global scale and the ensuing apocalypse, the world will probably be over before anyone has a chance to update it at midnight anyway.

A cheery thought to reflect on…

End of the world as we know it?Flickr/Maxwell Hamilton

Bronson also said: “We are living in a time of unprecedented danger, and the Doomsday Clock time reflects that reality.

“It’s a decision our experts do not take lightly. The US government, its NATO allies and Ukraine have a multitude of channels for dialogue; we urge leaders to explore all of them to their fullest ability to turn back the Clock.”

The clock was first established in 1947 by the Bulletin, which is made up of scientists and experts concerned for the future of the world. It was formed at the beginning of the nuclear age and included many of the world’s most famous scientists, such as Albert Einstein and J Robert Oppenheimer.

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