Nasa would like to clarify something - they don't necessarily think civilisation is doomed.
Last week news outlets across the globe (*guilty*) brought the horrifying news that a Nasa-funded study had concluded human society was on a course for destruction.
Nasa however, released the following...
A soon-to-be published research paper, 'Human and Nature Dynamics (HANDY): Modeling Inequality and Use of Resources in the Collapse or Sustainability of Societies' by University of Maryland researchers Safa Motesharrei and Eugenia Kalnay, and University of Minnesota's Jorge Rivas, was not solicited, directed or reviewed by NASA. It is an independent study by the university researchers utilizing research tools developed for a separate NASA activity. As is the case with all independent research, the views and conclusions in the paper are those of the authors alone. NASA does not endorse the paper or its conclusions.
Above: civilisations have risen and fallen throughout history
Mathematician Safa Motesharri was responsible for the report by stating that "the process of rise-and-collapse is actually a recurrent cycle found throughout history" and that this is borne out by maths, as well as historiography.
"The fall of the Roman Empire, and the equally (if not more) advanced Han, Mauryan, and Gupta Empires, as well as so many advanced Mesopotamian Empires, are all testimony to the fact that advanced, sophisticated, complex, and creative civilizations can be both fragile and impermanent."
There are caveats, of course. The study is a simplified model of society, not a perfect simulation, and it isn't able to make solid predictions of the future. It's also worth noting that Motesharri does allow for the possibility that "collapse can be avoided" - though he thinks it will be exceptionally difficult.
And now Nasa are distancing themselves.
Doesn't mean it won't happen though...