A billion years from now, America will be gone. The Internet will be gone. Star Wars will be gone. The Mona Lisa will be gone. Every last scrap of our existence will have winked out, until we are not even a memory...
But in this profoundly remote future, there must be one final artifact of our civilization, one thing that will out-survive all else, floating in the infinite timeless void of space. Scientists are now debating what this "last remnant" may be.
"Everything eventually dissolves into oblivion," explained quantum physicist Gavin Jenkins "The Great Pyramids will erode back into the sea, as if they had never existed. But long after humanity's greatest accomplishments are forgotten, some of our lesser achievements shall endure far longer."
Based on the principle of atomic decay, experts have come up with a short list of items that could last billions of years into the future:
1. The Starbucks Coffee Cup: One of the most abundant objects in the cosmos, the Starbucks coffee cup may survive due to its sheer multitude. It may litter the universe long after our Sun has flickered out.
2. The McDonald's French Fry: made from an alien substance that never decays, this small salty strand of fast food could easily outlast time itself.
3. Donald Trump's Wig: made from the same shellac as the McDonald's French Fry, the Donald Trump Wig could also last virtually forever.
4. The Hostess Twinkie: its rubbery outer shell and gooey center make it a likely candidate to win the longevity award. Twenty billion years from now, it will probably even taste the same.
But how will humanity's great masterpieces stand the test of time? "We are striving to preserve as much of our art, music and architecture as possible," said cosmic historian Clarence Whippet. "Already, Beethoven's Ninth has been engraved onto a trillion Starbucks Coffee Cups, and construction is nearly complete on a replica of the Eiffel Tower, made entirely out of Twinkies."