Home Life Does planet Earth have an expiry date?

Does planet Earth have an expiry date?


Earth too will have an end

Nothing is forever. Finitude is part of the existence of beings and things. There is no need for drama since the end, the end of something, is part of nature. So what about planet Earth? When will its end take place? How long do we humans have left inhabiting our little corner of the solar system?

The heat of the sun could be our end

One of the causes of our extinction as a species could be the effects of global warming that has been going on for years. But, even without this warming caused by human beings, the sun increases its radiation and that, in the end, will kill us. According to a Science article published in 2014, there are two models to calculate the countdown: one is more pessimistic than the other.

In 150 million years our existence could end

The calculation carried out by researchers from Pennsylvania State University led by the scientist Ravi Kopparapu, applying a 6% rise in solar radiation, said that in 150 million years only underwater life and some resistant microbes would be viable. In other words 150 million years and our species may be extinct.

Between 600 and 700 million for everything to end

The so-called “Kopparapu model” claims that with rising temperatures, in 600 to 700 million years no life would be possible on Earth.

A more optimistic view

However, according to Science, Eric Wolf and Owen Brian Toon made a 3D model at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, including much more precise variables. Result: we have 1.5 billion years left. Of course, the habitable territory for human beings, in a few million years, would be limited to a strip around the poles.

1 billion years is the most quoted figure

Between the two models mentioned is the figure that is always mentioned: 1,000 million years is what we have left of life on planet Earth…so long as we don’t hasten our extinction.

Extinction by natural causes (and by self-destruction)

It is true that the sun naturally heats up, as a star, and its radiation increases. But us humans, with the destruction of the ozone layer, have caused desertification and other horrors, which hasten climate change and making survival more difficult.

When will the sun go out?

Then there is the ultimate end. That will come when the sun goes out: approximately in 4,000 million years.

It will become a “red giant”

The sun is a star with characteristics that lead it to become, over time, an increasingly larger and colder star until it becomes what is called a “red giant”.

The sun is halfway through its life

The sun was born a little over 4,000 million years ago (5,000 at most) and is in the middle of its lifespan.

Earth will be absorbed by the sun

One of the possibilities when the sun becomes a “red giant” is that it will draw the Earth into its interior and absorb it.

Another possibility

Of course there is another possibility described in a fascinating way on Wikipedia. The Earth is not absorbed but this is the picture: “During this time virtually all of the atmosphere will have been lost to space due to a powerful solar wind and the temperature of the Earth’s surface, which is believed to be covered by an ocean of magma in which continents of metals and metal oxides and icebergs of refractory materials will float”.

The moon will explode

Also in the Wikipedia entry on ‘End of the Earth’, the possibility is pointed out that, at that moment when the earth’s surface is a lifeless magma, the moon explodes into a thousand pieces and becomes something similar to the planet Saturn’s rings.

The ultimate fate of the sun

After its phase as a “red giant”, according to astronomers, the sun would become a “white dwarf”, a nebula created by a star that “exhausted its fuel”.

“Like tears in the rain”

And so, in millions of years, we will be a thing of the past. And all our memories will be lost, as the replicant of ‘Blade Runner’ said, “Like tears in the rain”.

There is time to live

However, there are millions of years left for humans, as long as we learn how to take care of the planet, preserve it as a habitable space and not allow it to perish in absurd wars.