(CBS SF) — Our universe has been in existence for nearly 14 billion years and science has led us to believe it will keep existing for many billions more.

But according to a new study, our universe is bound to be ripped to shreds in only the next tens of billions of years — a relatively short span of time in the cosmological scale of things.

A new study published by Physical Review Letters proposes a theory known as the Big Crunch will destroy all matter as we know it.

It roots back to dark energy, which accounts for about 75 percent of the mass of the universe. Dark energy acts in opposition to gravity, and as a result is causing the universe’s expansion to accelerate at such a fast pace that it could altogether collapse on itself.

“The fact that we are seeing dark energy now could be taken as an indication of impending doom, and we are trying to look at the data to put some figures on the end date,” physicists at the University of California, Davis and the University of Nottingham told Phys.org. “Early indications suggest the collapse will kick in a few tens of billions of years, but we have yet to properly verify this.”

This new proposed theory helps explain some unanswered questions in physics, particularly something known as the cosmological constant problem.

Albert Einstein first proposed that uniform energy density is what keeps our universe from collapsing. But that was debunked in 1998 when scientists announced the universe was actually expanding at a quick rate.

The cosmological constant was then given a “non-zero” value with many scientists saying the expansion was the sign of an imminent collapse.

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