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. Observations from a liberal, gay, Latino, feminist Florida House freshman

    Blogs

    State Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, D-Orlando,  rocked the Florida LGBTA Democratic Caucus dinner at Tallahassee's Hotel Duval Satursday night with his unabashedly liberal and passionate take on the myriad issues he said are key to LGBTQ Floridians. Among them: Access to guns, Reproductive rights, home …

    Carlos G. Smith
  2. Delta Sigma Theta honors outgoing national president

    Human Interest

    During her four years as national president of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Paulette Walker said she always focused on the comma between "Sorority" and "Inc."

    Paulette Walker, the former director of undergraduate programs and internship in the College of Education at the University of South Florida, will be honored on Saturday for her leadership in the Delta Sigma Theta sorority.
  3. 10 sailors missing, 5 hurt in collision of USS John S. McCain

    SEOUL —Ten U.S. Navy sailors are missing and five have been injured after the USS John S. McCain destroyer collided with an oil tanker near Singapore early Monday morning.

    In this Jan. 22, 2017, photo provided by U.S. Navy, the USS John S. McCain patrols in the South China Sea while supporting security efforts in the region. The guided-missile destroyer collided with a merchant ship on Monday, Aug. 21, in waters east of Singapore and the Straits of Malacca. Ten sailors were missing, and five were injured, the Navy said. [James Vazquez/U.S. Navy via AP]
  4. Pasco County Fire Rescue fighting a two-alarm fire started by an explosion

    Fire

    Two houses are on fire and one victim has been critically burned and taken to a trauma center following an explosion at a home at 8652 Velvet Dr, in Port Richey.

  5. Rays see the Blake Snell they've been waiting for in win over Mariners

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — It was a one-run game Sunday when the Mariners' Robinson Cano singled with one out in the seventh inning, bringing the dangerous Nelson Cruz to the plate.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) throwing in the third inning of the game between the Seattle Mariners and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Sunday, Aug. 20, 2017.