Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

We're all gonna die! Life on Earth has only 1.75 billion years left

Scientists have done the math, and according to their calculations, life on Earth has 1.75 to 3.25 billion years left to thrive.

And that's if a giant asteroid or a nuclear war doesn't finish us off first.

Yes, there is a big difference between 1.75 billion and 3.25 billion years, but predicting the end of life on our planet it is not an exact science, at least not yet.

To arrive at that 1.5-billion-year doomsday spread, graduate student Andrew Rushby of the University of East Anglia in Britain created two slightly different equations that estimate the length of time Earth will remain in the "habitable zone" around the sun.

A planet is considered to be in the habitable zone when liquid water can exist on its surface.

If Earth was too close to the sun, high temperatures would cause our oceans to evaporate; too far away, and we'd be an icy wasteland.

Earth is firmly in the habitable zone of our sun right now (obviously - we're all here!), but that won't always be the case, Rushby explains in a new paper published in the journal Astrobiology.

As our sun gets older, it will evolve into a bigger, more luminous star. And sometime between 1.75 billion years and 3.25 billion years from now, Rushby says, the 92.9 million miles between us and our host star will not be enough to keep us comfortable.

Instead of being in the habitable zone, Earth will be in what astronomers call the hot zone. Oceans, liquid water and life will cease to exist on the planet.

Though it may be interesting to consider the final days of life on planet Earth, Rushby's equations were really designed to help astronomers determine whether newly discovered planets are in the habitable zone around their host star, and how long they will stay there.

In any event, there's no reason to fixate on the 1.75-billion-year deadline. Earth will become inhospitable to humans long before the planet enters the hot zone, Rushby told Norwich Evening News 24.

"Humans would be in trouble with even a small increase in temperature, and near the end only microbes in niche environments would be able to endure the heat," he said.

We're all gonna die! Life on Earth has only 1.75 billion years left 09/23/13 [Last modified: Monday, September 23, 2013 3:34pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

Copyright: For copyright information, please check with the distributor of this item, Tribune News Service.
    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Neil deGrasse Tyson will speak at the Straz Center for the Performing Arts on Thursday. We talked to him ahead of time. Check out what he had to say. [Patrick Eccelsine/FOX]
  2. Conor Oberst, Johnnyswim concerts moved out of State Theatre over construction issues

    Blogs

    Two more concerts -- including one this weekend -- have been moved out of the State Theatre in St. Petersburg as the venue continues to experience scaled-down crowd capacity following recent construction.

    Johnnyswim
  3. Hillsborough board to vote on new school start times

    K12

    TAMPA — The big issue at today's Hillsborough County School Board meeting will be the 2018-19 bell schedule. To save money and get students to school on time, …

    Hillsborough County School Board members tried to work out their differences at a training day in Temple Terrace on Oct. 11. Today, they will vote on revised school start times for 2018-19. [COLLEEN WRIGHT | Times]
  4. McCain condemns 'half-baked, spurious nationalism' in clear shot at Trump (w/video)

    National

    PHILADELPHIA — An emotional Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., launched a thinly veiled critique of President Donald Trump's global stewardship Monday night, using a notable award ceremony to condemn "people who would rather find scapegoats than solve problems."

    Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., right, accompanied by Chair of the National Constitution Center's Board of Trustees, former Vice President Joe Biden, waves as he takes the stage before receiving the Liberty Medal in Philadelphia, Monday, Oct. 16, 2017. The honor is given annually to an individual who displays courage and conviction while striving to secure liberty for people worldwide. [Associated Press]
  5. Tampa could pay $200,000 to family of man crushed by city front-end loader

    Local Government

    TAMPA — City Hall could pay $200,000 to the family of a dump truck driver crushed last December by a front-end loader operated by a city employee.

    This aerial image from 10News WTSP shows the scene at a city of Tampa loading station where dump truck driver Pablo R. Femenias was crushed by a front end loader driven by a city employee on Dec. 28, 2016.