How Much Longer Will We Be Here?


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While I've never really enjoyed thinking in traditional science terms, there are a few topics in science which really grab my attention and get me thinking. I recently discovered this article which offered new research estimating the lifespan of planet Earth. I have always been fascinated by the idea of being a small part of something greater than myself in the scope of human history on Earth. It truly is a miracle to me that intelligent life has formed on Earth and it's pretty cool to be a part of that. 

The miracle of our existence will eventually come to an end, and I am extremely curious as to how that will happen. Astrobiologist Andrew Rushby predicts that "Earth will cease to be habitable somewhere between 1.75 and 3.25 billion years from now. After this point, Earth will be in the 'hot zone' of the sun, with temperatures so high that the seas would evaporate. We would see a catastrophic and terminal extinction event for all life." This quotation grabbed my attention because it is the first estimation I have heard of the countdown of human history. If we can make it to that 1.75 to 3.25 billion year mark, the seas evaporating sounds like an epic way to go out. I unfortunately believe that we are on a path to end our own history before natural forces do. Environmental research throughout the last few decades should be a warning to humanity that we are on course to prematurely end the history of our species. But if our generation's leaders are careful, 1.75 to 3.25 billion years is plenty of time for me. 


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7 Comments

When I first read the title I embraced myself for what I thought would be a deep blog post. I was delighted to be proven wrong. Its also reassuring to know that the earth will be around for that long. However, a better question would be how much longer will humans be around for? Without humans what's the point of earth? I don't expect you to know, or else I'm sure you wouldn't be a college student, you'd be some sort of mad scientist studying global warming or trying to figure out how get a new source of energy to help us not run out of our natural resources or burn ourselves out of existence. Let's just hope for our generations ahead it really does last that long...

I have also always been interested with the thought that one day we all won't be here. Theres always that movie coming out about the ending of the world in a ridiculous way (especially with the whole Mayan calendar thing happening last year), but I have never heard of an actual estimate like this before. I'm glad the estimate way past the time any of us will be here. It is also interesting that they were able to possibly predict the way that our human race would actually go. I do agree with you though that we are setting ourselves up for our own demise. Hopefully people start to realize that and do something about it.

Like what others said I also think the prediction is fairly interesting and I personally found how/why it would end amazing. I've always just heard most people just say "oh it will end when the Earth crashes into the sun." If we can make it another 2 billion years hopefully we'll have the technology to see the seas dry up and evaporate away. It's said that there are crevasses deeper than the grand canyon and mountain ranges taller than Everest on the sea floor so to see that would be extraordinary. We just have to get there first.. long live humanity!
Here's another article similar in that it describes that it's really all the sun's fault.. http://scienceblogs.com/startswithabang/2012/12/20/the-science-of-the-real-end-of-the-world/

It would truly be amazing if our race survived to that point in time where our planet would no longer be habitable. However the ways look for the future and especially if you look at the history of our race chances of it surviving the next 2 billion years do not look to good. If nature fails to eradicate us at this rate it looks like we will finish the job for it unless humanity can get over the obsession with killing each other.

I've always been a little freaked out about the end of the world. Whether it's the zombie apocalypse or a huge meteor to destroy the earth. I get scared that I will be alive when the world ends. I know I sound crazy, but that is one of my biggest fears. This is a really interesting blog though! Good work

Let's hope by the time we arrive to 1.7 billion years, we have expanded, and exploited other parts of the galaxy. Would be pretty interesting to know that the human species has deviated from their home world, Earth, to who-knows where. Hopefully, we exist for that long, but if we don't, then we had a good run. Unfortunately, the way we are killing the Earth, I don't think we'll make it past another 500.

I liked how you referred to it as the "miracle" of our existence, since Andrew pointed out in class that it is extremely unlikely that the human race should even exist. Equally as interesting as how the human race came about is how the human race will come to an end. I found it interesting that this said the human race would end because of the Earth's proximity to the Sun. Therefore, I looked into other theories as to how the world/human race will come to an end. According to an article on The Atlantic, there are (of course) many different theories. Some of the ones listed are rather "lighthearted" and meant as a bit of a joke, while others hold a bit more logic behind them. For example, they quoted the tv show Parks and Recreation, which is obviously a bit lighter, but there are also theories from astrophysicists that say the human race will end long before the Earth actually is gone. I think it's intriguing to think about the earth existing with no life on it for millions of years before the planet itself is gone.

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