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If the latest results do hold up, some of the most important questions in cosmology--how old the universe is, what it's made of and how it will end--will have been answered, only about 70 years after they were first posed. By the time the final chapter of cosmic history is written--further in the future than our minds can grasp--humanity, and perhaps even biology, will long since have vanished. Yet it's conceivable that consciousness will survive, perhaps in the form of a disembodied digital intelligence. If so, then someone may still be around to note that the universe, once ablaze with the light of uncountable stars, has become an unimaginably vast, cold, dark and profoundly lonely place.