Earth to remain habitable for 1.75bn years


#1

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#2

not all that relevant since humans will be long dead before that happens.


#3

Actually, I think I’m the penultimate generation before the singularity.


#4

Aw, Rob! Do you need a hug or something?


#5

I hate to be a Debbie Downer, but this may be too optimistic–the article says their conclusions are “based on our distance from the sun and temperatures at which it is possible for the planet to have liquid water”, they may not have considered the possibility of a runaway greenhouse effect happening sooner and evaporating away the oceans, the model discussed in this article says this could happen between 500 million and 1 billion years from now. And in wikipedia’s “Future of the Earth” article, the Climate impact section mentions the issue that the steadily increasing brightness of the sun makes it easier for silicate rocks to absorb CO2 from the air, resulting in a long-term decrease in CO2 which may cause all plant life to go extinct within 600 million years.


#6

Your days are numbered!


#7

Unfortunately, being a lifeform is like being a casino gambler: you’ve been betting against entropy since day one, and entropy always wins.


#8

“As soon as you’re born you start dying, so you might as well have a good time.”


#9

The 600 million year figure, which I’ve read before, the point where 99% of current-day plants can’t survive, is interesting. And after that, it’s pretty much a breakdown to single-cell organisms, before and after the oceans evaporate.

I guess previously I assumed, even though humans will be long gone, there’d be some form of complex life ready to wave its noodly appendage when the Andromeda galaxy collides with ours, 4 billion years from now, long before the red giant stage of the Sun.

But it seems that Earth is already a senior citizen in the cradle of life department. Of course, a lot can happen in 600 million years. If humanity vanishes tomorrow, there’s probably time for 2 or 3 more crazy Dinosaur Mark 2, 3, 4 ages, or whatever.

But still, life on Earth is kind of like that movie cop that’s just got 4 more weeks til retirement. At which point, he’ll finally have some time to spend on that boat he bought. “I’m gonna name it FOREVER.”


#10

No, life always beats entropy, locally. Otherwise it would be called death.


#11

Planet Earth will remain habitable for another 1.75bn years, according
to findings published in the journal Astrobiology.

I’m sure humanity, with all its ingenuity, will fix that.


#12

And it is a very high number.


#13

Obligatory: "Oh whew! I thought you said 1.75 million!"


#14

They’re just counting how long we’re in the habitable zone. That ignores dinosaur-killer asteroids, nuclear war, nanotech gray goo, epidemics, anthropogenic global warming, ecological destruction, and similar things that could kill us all off.


#15

You left out dumbasses. They’re an order of magnitute more dangerous than all the other stuff. :smile:


#16

Man, I just bought a two-billion year home roof warranty. Boy will I look foolish now.


#17

You are assuming that I am from some pre-Singularity generation. I cannot be sure that I was not actually a genetically-engineered fetus from the future, grown in a last-ditch effort to prevent the planet’s destruction, then DeLoreaned into the 80’s, straight into to my mother’s uterus somehow, born to internet and genetically pre-determined to give the world Singularity lamaze classes by disseminating the dominant post-Singularity musical paradigm, a fusion of dubstep and novelty songs known as The Dubularity, which is less a genre and more a school of thought, founded by Weird Al during his Late Period.


#18

On the one hand, this leaves out all the other much nearer term existential risks the human species faces. Nuclear war, supervolcanoes, meteor strikes, climate change, unfriendly AI, self replicating nanobots, engineered disease-causing microbes, what have you.

On the other hand, if we do manage to survive those challenges, I very much doubt the death of the sun will be a serious problem for the descendents of Earth-originating intelligent life. Maybe we won’t be flesh and blood anymore, and live in space and run directly on sunlight, and this will be a bonus. Maybe we’ll have terraformed and colonized other worlds and just move the rest of our people there. Maybe we’ll spend 10 million years and petawatts of power pushing the earth into a farther out orbit, while also breaking down silicate rocks to release CO2 in our giant indoor farms where we control the temperature and carefully recollect all the moisture. Maybe we’ll live on the moons of Jupiter and keep ourselves warm and lit by matter-antimatter reactors using antimatter generated by tidal forces and Jupiter’s magnetic field.

A billion years is a long, long time. Look how far we’ve come in the last 100, or 10,000. I don’t know if the universe will turn out to be open or closed, so I can’t say if life will still be possible a trillion years from now, but if I am still here to see it all end, it will be because we worried about more important and pressing difficulties first.


#19

Life pretty much never beats entropy locally, it just has very, very, good ‘shovelling the entropy on to some other sucker’ skills. Like a gambler with a steady paycheck, our ecosystem has the sun, bleeding mass that we might indulge in inefficient chemical reactions. Only Maxwell’s demon actually beats entropy locally. The rest of us export our contradictions.


#20

So… we should… uh… come with you if we want to live?