What if there is a way to destroy the universe so fundamentally that life as we know it will be impossible forever? Youtube channel “Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell” takes a look at this possibility.
In quantum field theory, vacuum refers to the ground state of space, i.e. space with as little energy in it as possible. However, the vacuum state is not empty; quantum fields are still present in it. It is possible that when we start with normal space and remove as much energy and particles as possible, we wind up in a local minimum of energy, called a “false vacuum”, rather than the global minimum of energy (“true vacuum”) which has a different configuration of quantum fields. In this case, there would be a barrier to entering the true vacuum (analogous to activation energy in chemistry), and perhaps the barrier is so high that it has never yet been overcome anywhere in the universe. [Source]