It was recently confirmed by more accurate measurements that a phenomenon described as "dark energy", first observed a couple of years ago, is affecting gravity in such a way that it accelerates the expansion of the universe. This newly discovered expansion "effect" has galaxies racing away from each other at rates much faster than previously determined.
For a while now cosmologists took it for granted that the universe would end in one of two ways.
The "Big Chill" has the universe expanding forever. A dark and cold destiny as the stars would gradually disappear from the visible plane and matter itself would disintegrate and drift apart into ever more minute components.
The "Big Crunch" has the universe expand to a critical point and then implode into what can only be described as a super dense accumulation of "all that ever was".
Take your pick.
Gravity sucks, at least that is what Einstein's theory of relativity tells us. Energy and matter (stuff) creates gravity. The more stuff, the more gravity lets itself be known. If there is a small amount of stuff in the universe, there may be just enough to keep the expansion going endlessly resulting in the big chill. If, however, there is a lot of stuff,in other words, a lot of gravity, the expansion may cease and the process is reversed into a big crunch.
Now comes this dark gravity to instill another dimension of doom and gloom. Should this news disturb us in some way or should it merely be a curious scientific point of interest?
It does spark a hint of sadness, though. I guess the sadness is really the acknowledgment of mortality. Not our own but for the world.
Hey, but cheer up! We're talking BILLIONS of years here, so "break out the booze and have a ball. If that's all there is."
Yet, after all is said and done, there is another aspect to all this that is to be considered. This aspect depends on how we view our very own existence and our belief (or lack of it) in a creator. Belief in a creator does tend to change everything.