The Timeline of the Future...

Here is a timeline of what may be about to happen in the future. Many of the predictions have been taken from 'official' predictions by economists, and various experts in many other fields.

For those of you that enjoy science fiction as I do, I have also inserted the years when certain well-known science fiction stories take place (see blue text). It is a sobering reminder that, at least for the near future, that we are pretty bad at imagining what the future will be like.

When I was growing up, the 21st Century was the future when great things would be happening, or at least that's what science fiction writers and futurists promised. From the timeline below, it really looks like the 22nd Century will be very exciting. Too bad those of you reading this page will not be there to see it happen !

It looks like only Stephen Baxter (Ring) and Arthur C. Clarke (The City and the Stars) have any ideas what might be in store for us beyond a million years from now. Is this the uncharted territory for the next generation of science fiction authors?

Note: Future predictions by various science fiction stories are shown in blue italics Mys = Million years ago; Kya = Thousand years ago. Scientific notation for far future expressed as 10^3 for 1000, 10^4 for 10000 and 10^10^26 for 'ten raised to the 10^26th power).

Written by NASA Astronomer Dr. Sten Odenwald

Astronomy Cafe

2001. NEAR spacecraft is the first manmade object to land on an asteroid.

2001. The events from 2001: A Space Odyssey begin.

2003. End of the World predicted by aliens called Zetas

2003. Cassini spacecraft arrives at Saturn

2003, Mars at opposition. 34.6 million miles. Closest to earth in last 3000 years

2004. Alderson Drive is perfected and allows interstellar travel. (Jerry Pournelle)

2004, Transit of Venus (6/8)

2004. Superconducting Supercollider creates a wormhole bridge (John Cramer.)

2004. End of the World predicted by Arnie Stanton. Second Coming

2005. Eon. First expedition to hollowed-out asteroid uncovers The Way. (Greg Bear)

2006. End of the World .

2007. End of the World . Rapture occurs

2009. Flashforward. At the CERN something goes horribly awry.

2010 World's oil supply will reach its maximum production.

2010. Half of all automobiles and trucks will be electric

2012. End of the World . Bible Code shows earth hit by devastating comet.

2012 Great Cycle of the Maya is 5,125 years in length comes to an end.

2012. End of the World. The earth enters the Photon Belt from the Pleiades.

2014. End of the World . Pope Leo XIX prediction ca 1514.

2014. Planned launch of the Terrestrial Planet Finder by NASA.

2015. Fossil industry will start to feel the cumulative heat of dwindling oil supply,

2015. Greenhouse gas emissions in developing world exceed industrialized world.

2016. End of the World . Biological plague released that kills all of humanity.

2016. Possible date for the flyby of the New Horizons mission with Pluto.

2017. End of the World . according to Sword of God Brotherhood.

2018. End of the World . Comet or Asteroid collides with earth.

2019. Cities in Flight. Gravitron polarity generator invented (James Blish)

2020. About one-fourth of children will live in poverty,

2020. Skill shortage of nine million college educated workers

2020 Estimated population could be at 8 billion people.

2020. Global natural gas production is expected to "peak" by now.

2020 Massive and uncontrolled deforestation in Africa

2020. Government will owe the Social Security Trust Fund $3 trillion,

2020. Minority students will represent 46% of all students in the United States.

2020 Mt. Kilimanjaro - complete loss of snow

2020. Podkayne of Mars. Intra-planet travel is commonplace. (Robert Heinlein)

2022. Soylent Green events begin.

2024. End of the World . Asteroid hits earth.

2025. Childhood's End. 50 years after the Overlords arrived in 1975, (Arthur C. Clarke)

2025. Milky Way invisible eastern half of the United States

2025 Two out of every three people on Earth will live in water-stressed conditions.

2028. End of the World . Asteroid 1997 XF11 within 600,000 miles. Could collide.

2030. End of the World . Predicted by Sun Microsystems Chief Scientist.

2030 The projected insolvancy date for the Medicare Trust Fund

2030. One in four American women will be over the age of 65.

2030. Peak aging of baby boom generation. Total population 50.8 million

2030. The world's automobile population will surpass one billion,

2030. Global warming could flood New York subways, airports coastal areas

2030. World population 9.6 billion. 96% of the addition in developing nations,

2030. The Star Dwellers. Haertel faster than light drive invented (James Blish)

2036. The Light of Other Days. 'WormCam' invented (Arthur C. Clarke)

2038. End of the World. Massive starvation and polar icecaps melt. 2038.

2040. No distinction between a commercial airliner a commercial launch vehicle:

2040. Population of California will essentially double to 60 million people.

2042. Timemaster. First expedition to Alpha Centauri. Warpgate. (Robert Forward)

2047. End of the World . Predicted by the Church of BLAIR.

2049. Robots will be doing many household chores such as cooking, lawn-mowing,

2050. The impact of global warming is expected to be obvious by now.

2050. People of color will comprise nearly 50 percent of the U.S. population.

2050. U.S. Glacier National Park will contain no glaciers.

2050. Jet contrails to be significant climate factor by 2050

2050. Ozone layer will begin to repair itself

2050. The world population 9-11 billion

2050. World energy consumption will double or triple by 2050

2050. Photovoltaic solar energy of 18% in the entire electricity

2050, Fuel-cell electric power will predominate.

2050. Petroleum reserves are finally exhausted

2050. Human population estimated at 10-12 billion.

2050. Death of the Oil Economy.

2050. Earth-dwellers will probably be able to travel to the moon

2050. Globe will warm up by 1.5 - 4.5 degrees Celsius if CO2 at 600 ppm

2053. Third World War. Zefram Cochrane invents space warp drive (Star Trek)

2058. Lost in Space movie. Jupiter 2 is launched from Earth.

2060. Population of the United States is now at 560 million Americans

2061. Babylon 5. First permanent lunar colony established.

2061. Halley's Comet returns. This is the 31st time

2065. Procyon's Promise. A Maker ship enters solar system. (Michael McCollum)

2076. End of the World . Bede the Venerable, an 8th Century christian theologian.

2083. Alien movie begin its history.

2084, Transit of Earth as seen from Mars (November 10th)

2088 Computer will be twice as smart and twice as insightful as any human being

2090. Great Lakes water levels will likely be one to three feet lower;

2095. Chinese economy has grown by a factor of more than 50,

2100. Two-thirds of the world's 6,700 languages will have died.

2100. Average temperature increases worldwide of more than 3 degrees Celsius

2100. Population in the year 2100 may be in the range 10 to II billion.

2100 Sea level in 2100, would be about 0.4 metres.

2100. Atmospheric CO2 will increase to 700 ppm by Temps by 3.5 F (1.9 C)

2100. The Ring of Charon. Earth is accidentally destroyed (Roger MacBride Allen)

2101. Babylon 5. First martian base established.

2102. Polaris reaches its closest position with respect to the North Celestial Pole.

2119. Orphans of the Sky. First Proxima Centauri Expedition (Robert Heinlein)

2150. Dr Who and his traveling companions use his time machine and visit Earth

2115. Childhood's End. All adult humans are now extinct, (Arthur C. Clarke)

2125. Childhood's End. The Earth is destroyed (Arthur C.Clarke)

2130. Rama Revealed. Alien artifact enters the solar system (Arthur C. Clark)

2197. The Engines of God. The Iapetus Expedition. (Jack McDevitt)

2199. The Matrix. the world is now being run by an artificial intelligence..

2200. Galaxies Like Grains of Sand. The Procyon Colony is settled. (Brian Aldis)

2218. Star Trek. First contact with Klingon Empire

2245. Babylon 5. The Earth-Minbari War begins with the death of Dukat.

2261. Babylon 5. The Shadow-Vorlon war at Coridian.

2264. Star Trek. Captain Kirk begins the historic 'Five year Mission'

2267. Babylon 5. Drakh release plague on Earth. Humanity annihilated except Rangers.

2300. The End of Eternity. Humans discover the Temporal Field. (Isaac Asimov)

2341. The Man-Kazin War begins. (Larry Niven)

2367. Star Trek Next Generation. The Borg attack the Federation.

2375. Cities in Flight. Earth cities wander the galaxy (James Blish)

2400. Eon. Humans hollow out the asteroid Ceres and install The Way, (Greg Baer)

2439. The Sundered Worlds. End of the universe. (Michael Moorcock)

2487. Buck Rogers TV series

2512. Antares Dawn (Michael McCollum)

2525. Zager and Evans: In the year 2525,

2600. The End of Eternity. Time travel created (Isaac Asimov)

3001. Ring. Space travel with GUT-drive and wormhole technology. (Stephen Baxter)

3100. Earth's next little ice age could occur

3111. Cities in Flight. New York is launched into space.(James Blish)

3175. A Canticle for Leibowitz. Earth destroyed by nuclear war (Walter Miller)

3262. Babylon 5. On a decimated Earth, monks collect artifacts to reconstruct past

3500. The Songs of Distant Earth. The quantum drive is invented. (Arthur C. Clarke)

3620. Songs of Distant Earth. Earth destroyed as the Sun goes nova. (Arthur C.Clarke)

3850. The Corridors of Time. Time travel is invented. (Poul Anderson)

4000. The Chaos Weapon. Trans-continuum drives. (Colin Kapp)

4000 Earth's magnetic field would vanish, perhaps reversing polarity

4004. Cities in Flight. Rebirth of the universe. (James Blish)

4874. Ring. Conquest of human planets by Squeem. (Stephen Baxter)

5088. Ring. Conquest of human planets by Qax (Stephen Baxter)

5500. Ring. Third human expansion begins into galaxy. (Stephen Baxter)

10,000. Ring. Humans become dominant species in galaxy (Stephen Baxter)

11,500. Because of precession, Earth will then be closer to the sun in July

12,000. The Wizard of Linn. (A.E. van Vogt)

16,000. Vega is now the North Pole Star.

20,000. Global climate would be naturally heading towards another ice age.

23,000. A full-scale glaciation, much like the last one, will culminate

23,125,. The star Thuban is now the North Pole Star.

26,000. Hari Sheldon establishes the Foundation. (Isaac Asimov)

26,390. Dune. House Atreides moves to Arakis (Frank Herbert)

27,827. Polaris returns to its closest offset from North Celestial Pole

30,000 Pioneer 10 passes close to nearby star Ross 248, 10 light years distant

50,000 Solar system enters a piece of 'Local Fluff'

80,000 Peak of the next ice age,

82,000. Galaxies Like Grains of Sand. Space travel resumes.(Brian Aldis)

100,000. Ring. Human assaults on Xeelee concentrations begins. (Stephen Baxter)

202,000. Return to the Stars. The Empire battles the Dark Worlds. (Edmond Hamilton)

657,208. The Time Ships. The Morlock civilization. (Stephen Baxter)

802,701 In the Time Machine chronology the Morlocks and Eloi saga unfolds.

1 million. Gleise 710 reaches closest point to Sun at 1 light years. Comet storms?

1 million . Babylon 5. Sun goes nova. Rangers become Vorlon-like beings.

1 million. Ring. Xeelee final defeat of humans (Stephen Baxter)

1 million. City and the Stars. Humans colonized the galaxy. (Arthur C. Clarke)

3 million. City and the Stars. Invaders enter Galaxy. Defeat humans. (Arthur C. Clarke)

3 million. The End of Eternity. Humans will have evolved. (Isaac Asimov)

3 million . The Betelgeuse Supernova by now.

4 million. Ring. Destruction of Ring by photino birds. (Stephen Baxter)

5 million. Ring. Last humans return to solar system in GUT ship (Stephen Baxter)

5 million. Sun reached the edge of the Local Bubble

7 million. The End of Eternity. The mysterious Hidden Centuries. (Isaac Asimov).

10 million. Ring. Extinction of baryonic life. (Stephen Baxter)

15 million. The End of Eternity. Humanity has completely died out. (Isaac Asimov)

20 million. Limit to numerical integration of the dynamics of the solar system

20 million. 35 supernovae in the Sco-Cen OB association

40 million. Galaxies Like Grains of Sand. The end of the Dark Millennia. (Brian Aldis)

66 million Sirius leaves the main sequence and starts life as a red giant

100 million City and the Stars. Humanity confined to a few cities: Diaspar (Arthur C. Clarke)

100 million Solar luminosity 1% higher. global temperature will be 10 degrees C higher.

100 million. Saturn's rings disappear.

200 million . Global temperature will be 20 degrees C higher.

225 million. Sirius is a mature red giant with a red color and a magnitude of -5.0.

250 million. World will once again be like ancient Pangea.

300 million. The binary pulsar PSR1913+16 collapses in a spectacular supernova.

300 million. Mean global temperature will be 30 degrees C higher.

342 million. Sirius enters a planetary nebula phase.

400 million. Mean global temperature will be 40 degrees C higher.

500 million. Atmosphere short of carbon dioxide that all plant will die,

500 million. Global temperature will be 50 degrees C higher.

600 million. The sun will be 5% brighter than it is today.

600 million. Earth temperature will have risen to about 350 K or 80C.

750 million. Sagittarius dwarf galaxy eaten by Milky Way.

1 billion. The City and the Stars. Human interstellar civilization (Arthur C. Clarke)

1 billion. Galaxies Like Grains of Sand. Human extinction across galaxy. (Brian Aldis)

1 billion . Earth may lose its oceans and revert to its former lifeless

1.1 billion : Sun will be 10% brighter than today. Moist Greenhouse Effect.

1.1 billion. Earth would start to lose its water via a 'moist greenhouse'

1.3 billion. Surface temperature 100 C. The surface pressure of the atmosphere is 2 bars,

1.5 billion. The City and the Stars . Humans create incorporeal beings(Arthur C. Clarke)

2 billion. Global temperature about 400 K or 130 C.

2 billion Eccentricity of the orbit of Mars exceeds 0.2.

2 billion. The City and the Stars. Alvin leaves Diaspar (Arthur C. Clarke)

2 billion. Moon no longer helpful in stabilizing our axis. Chaotic behavior eminent

2.3 billion. The solar system makes its Tenth orbit of the galactic center

3 billion. Sun reaches its hottest surface temperature of 5843 on Main Sequence

3 billion. Solar luminosity increases 33%, Global temperature 450 K or 180 C.

3 billion. Andromeda Galaxy collides with Milky Way.

3.5 billion Runaway Greenhouse Effect The oceans will evaporate into space,

3.5 billion. Mercury suffers close encounter with Venus and ejected from solar system.

3.5 billion. Earth now a twin to Venus but with water-vapor rich 100-bar atmosphere.

4.8 billion. Earth's temperature will have risen to about 1600 K or 1330 C.

5.0 billion. Sun starts to become a red giant.

7.5 billion. City at World's End. Middletown propelled into future (Edmond Hamilton)

7.55 billion. Venus at 1 AU earth 1.38 AU. Mercury engulfed, but Venus just escapes

7.68 billion. Sun engulfs Venus and Earth. Mars spared at a distance of 2.25 AU.

11 billion. Youngest globular clusters have now evaporated away.

17 billion. The City and the Stars. Mad Mind battles Vanamonde(Arthur C. Clarke)

50 billion. Earthlings will only see galaxies that are now our closest neighbors.

100 billion. Universe will be a dark and lonely place,"

100 billion. The universe is likely to remain hospitable to life

1000 billion Stars die. No more fusion-powered stars, Galaxies filled with corpses.

1500 trillion. Ring. Stars evaporate from galaxies.(Stephen Baxter)

10^17 Passing stars rip planets from stellar corpses.

10^18 Galaxies dissolve.

10^20 Orbits of planets decay via gravitational radiation

10^30 The Black Hole Age

10^31 Universe filled with supermassive black holes. Protons decay

10^32 Dead stars evaporate via proton decay

10^34 All carbon-based lifeforms become extinct (due to lack of atoms)

10^35 . Proton and neutron will decay if current GUT theories correct.

10^65 Stellar-mass black holes evaporate!

10^65 Ordinary matter liquifies due to quantum tunneling

10^66 Solar mass black holes evaporate via Hawking process

10^97 Galaxy-sized black holes will also evaporate.

10^100 Supermassive black holes evaporate.

10^110 . The Dark Age no known process which will ever change things.

10^122 Protons decay via Hawking process

10^1500 Ordinary matter surviving GUTs or Hawking process, decays into iron

10^10^26 All iron nuclei collapse into black holes