If you're not familiar with the 'Doomsday Clock,' then you should probably get acquainted.
The iconic device, created and maintained by The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, takes into account the many potential factors that may bring about the end of the world, including nuclear threats, climate change and biosecurity, in order to accurately predict a potential apocalypse.
A description on the Bulletin's website reads:
Founded in 1945 by University of Chicago scientists who had helped develop the first atomic weapons in the Manhattan Project, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists created the Doomsday Clock two years later, using the imagery of apocalypse (midnight) and the contemporary idiom of nuclear explosion (countdown to zero) to convey threats to humanity and the planet.
We're guessing that by now, you've been able to surmise exactly what happens when this figurative clock strikes "midnight."
Well ... something like that.
But just who is it that owns the great power of deciding whether or not to move the Earth closer to its figurative expiration date?
"The decision to move (or to leave in place) the minute hand of the Doomsday Clock is made every year by the Bulletin's Science and Security Board in consultation with its Board of Sponsors, which includes 17 Nobel laureates," the description reads.
Sounds pretty legitimate.
Unfortunately, the clock is expected to be moved one minute closer to 'midnight' on Thursday, largely due to increasing tensions between Russia and the United States.
If the move actually does happen, this will mark the closest the world has been to the apocalypse since 1953, when the U.S. upgraded its nuclear arsenal with the hydrogen bomb.
"The hands of the Clock of Doom have moved again," the Bulletin announced in '53. "Only a few more swings of the pendulum, and, from Moscow to Chicago, atomic explosions will strike midnight for Western civilization."
Will history repeat itself tomorrow? We'll just have to wait and see.
The scientists behind the clock will livestream the potential time adjustment at 10 a.m. EST on Thursday.