The Roman Empire lasted around 500 years from the ascension of Julius Caesar to the deposition of teenage ruler Romulus Augustulus. By this timeline, the United Kingdom in its current form is middle-aged, with Ireland joining England, Wales, and Scotland in 1801. So how long do we have left? A study part-sponsored by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center was not optimistic. Led by mathematician Safa Motesharrei, it questioned the sustainability of modern civilization.

The study noted: ”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.” The scarcity of resources such as water, agriculture, and energy was found to lead to decline.