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MACJR

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Okay, now this is a cause of global warming on a scale that makes burning fossil fuels irrelevant. When the sun expands to its red giant stage there will be no blaming our petroleum powered cars and big business for that one. For once, the excess heat will not be their fault.

 

The predicted time for the Earth’s eventual destruction has been pushed forward into the future a bit over two billion years, but the date for things getting too hot for life on earth has actually been bush closer… we only have about a billion years left here on the Earth.

 

A billion years may seem like a long time, but it really is not. Consider how long it took life to get to this stage of evolution, where humans develop and invent advanced technologies. The Earth is estimated to be about four and a half billion years old today. This means the Earth’s habitability stage is more than four-fifths over.

 

With only a billion years of life on Earth left, do you really think we have time to convince the governments and big business to do something before it is too late? I mean, they are waiting to pretty much the last second to switch to alternative fuels now that the oil supplies are running low. This lack of foresight and good planning has our world civilization on the brink of collapse and there is no guarantee that a collapse can be prevented at this stage. Things are going to be rough for a while… at the very least.

 

We need our governments, and big business, to start planning further ahead and taking actions well ahead of imminent disaster, not waiting to the last second so they can milk the public of every last cent possible with the old system before trying out something new! In this case, we need to get civilization out into the deep solar system and to other nearby stars long before the sun gets too big and makes things too hot for life on Earth. We need time to prove ourselves out there. We need to be self-sufficient out among the outer planets and around other stars so that when the Earth’s habitability stage is finally over, we can still survive.

 

There is pretty much no way that humanity will survive if we wait until the very last second to leave the Earth behind. Too many things could go wrong if we leave in a mad dash. It has to be a slow but sure build up of technologies and techniques for surviving on alien planets and on, or in, moons of gas giants. All this could take a very long time to master. We best be getting started now, not in 999 million years from now.

 

 

MACJR

 

 

 

 

Earth’s final sunset predicted

 

New calculation predicts planet’s destruction in 7.6 billion years

 

 

By Clara Moskowitz

Space.com

updated 10:19 a.m. PT, Tues., Feb. 26, 2008

 

"Some say the world will end in fire, Some say in ice," wrote the poet Robert Frost. Astronomers, it turns out, are in the former camp.

 

A new calculation predicts that Earth will be swallowed up by the sun in 7.6 billion years, capping off a longstanding debate over whether the sun's gravitational pull will have weakened enough for Earth to escape final destruction or not.

 

Other theorists have predicted that our planet will fry as the sun expands in its old age. But the time estimates have varied by a couple billion years.

 

"Although people have looked at these problems before, we would claim this is the best attempt that's been made to date, and probably the most reliable," said astronomer Robert Smith, emeritus reader at Britain's University of Sussex, who made the new calculations with astronomer Klaus-Peter Schroeder of the University of Guanajuato in Mexico. "What we've done is to refine existing models and to put the best calculations we can at each point in the model."

 

If 7.6 billion years doesn't sound like an urgent death sentence, don't relax yet. Regardless of whether Earth will ultimately be vaporized, as the sun heats up, our planet will become too hot to live on before then.

 

"After a billion years or so you've got an Earth with no atmosphere, no water and a surface temperature of hundreds of degrees, way above the boiling point of water," Smith told Space.com. "The Earth will become dry basically. It will become completely impossible for life of any kind to exist. It's a pretty gloomy forecast."

 

Nonetheless, scientists are curious about the ultimate fate of our planet after we are gone (like all previous hominids and more than 99 percent of all species that have lived on Earth, humans will probably go extinct, and it will likely happen sooner than a billion years).

 

Smith's earlier studies found that Earth would narrowly escape being engorged. As the sun ages and expands into a red giant star, it will shed its outer gaseous layers, thus losing mass and weakening its gravitational pull. Previous calculations found that this let-up would allow the Earth's orbit to shift outward, enabling the planet to slip free of the smoldering sun.

 

But this scenario doesn't account for tidal forces, and the drag of the sun's outer layers. As the Earth orbits the sun, its smaller gravitational pull isn't completely negligible — it actually causes the side of the sun closest to our planet to hoard more mass and bulge out toward us.

 

"Just as the Earth is pulling on the sun's bulge, it's pulling on the earth, and that causes the earth to slow in its orbit," Smith said. "It will spiral back and finally end up inside the sun."

 

In addition, the gas that the sun expels will also drag Earth inward toward its demise.

 

Smith's previous calculations had ignored these effects.

 

"We didn't think it mattered, but it turns out it does," he said. "You might say our previous models had a gap."

 

There may even be hope for Earth. Some scientists have proposed a scheme for down the road to use the gravity of a passing asteroid to budge Earth out of the way of the sun toward cooler territory, assuming there is life around at the time that is intelligent enough to engineer this solution.

 

"It sounds like science fiction, but there's a group of people who have quite seriously suggested that it might be possible," Smith said. "If it's done right, that would just keep the Earth moving fast enough to keep it out of harm's way. Maybe life could go on for as much as 7 billion years."

 

Smith's findings have been accepted for publication in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

 

© 2007 Space.com. All rights reserved. More from Space.com.


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waltcesca

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Reply with quote  #2 
Pretty sure I learned (and had a weeks worth of nightmares about) this happening in 5th grade science! Gosh, I wish 'they' would find something 'new' to scare us with!

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nannyjo

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Reply with quote  #3 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MACJR

 

A billion years may seem like a long time, but it really is not. Consider how long it took life to get to this stage of evolution, where humans develop and invent advanced technologies. The Earth is estimated to be about four and a half billion years old today. This means the Earth’s habitability stage is more than four-fifths over.

 

Well aren't you just the life of the party! hehehe

 

I think I may just slip off and whistle some happy tunes to avoid any nghtmares


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MACJR

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Reply with quote  #4 

Quote:
Originally Posted by nannyjo
Quote:
Originally Posted by MACJR

 

A billion years may seem like a long time, but it really is not. Consider how long it took life to get to this stage of evolution, where humans develop and invent advanced technologies. The Earth is estimated to be about four and a half billion years old today. This means the Earth’s habitability stage is more than four-fifths over.

 

Well aren't you just the life of the party! hehehe

 

I think I may just slip off and whistle some happy tunes to avoid any nghtmares

That kind of reminds me of the grasshopper and the squirrel. The squirrel worked all summer to prepare for winter while the grasshopper just wanted to play and have fun.

 

I think in the children’s story the squirrel ends up helping the grasshopper but I do not remember for sure. In the real world, the grasshopper would not make out so well. The squirrel, who was well prepared, survives.

 

Sometimes we need to deal with the unpleasant thoughts to make a better future for ourselves, otherwise, will enjoy ourselves to extinction.

 

One more thing about that I forgot to add to my last post in this thread... we have about a billion years before the sun makes things too hot here on earth for life... but there are many, many, many other extinction level events that could happen well before then.

 

Now, perhaps it is time for happy thoughts again... like a human race that becomes smart enough to save itself and thrive for billions of years to come.

 

 

MACJR


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ManInBlack

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Reply with quote  #5 
The fable I grew up with was a grasshopper and an ant.

A billion years may seem like a long time, but determining a solution, and then acting on that solution, may indeed take that long.

I'm pretty sure no one will remember our names, or our great grand children's names, by then.


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MACJR

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ManInBlack
The fable I grew up with was a grasshopper and an ant.

A billion years may seem like a long time, but determining a solution, and then acting on that solution, may indeed take that long.

I'm pretty sure no one will remember our names, or our great grand children's names, by then.

You are probably right then, since I could not remember if it was a grasshopper and a squirrel or not... but I did think ant at one point. I went with the squirrel because I kept getting an image of a squirrel burying nuts. Perhaps I mixed up too children’s stories.

 

I only remember hearing the story about the grasshopper and the ant once, back when I was in about the first grade. I may not have remembered the story precisely, but the moral of the story stuck with me to this day. 

 

As for it taking the human race a billion years to get out there settling, and thriving, on planets around other stars, I do hope my highly cynical view of humanity is wrong. I hope that we get out to those outer planets and reach planets around other stars long, long, before the Sun makes like difficult here on the Earth. I want people to prove me wrong... that we will not go extinct because politicians will under fund, delay, form committee after committee to discuss the issue, and then not do a thing because big business lobbyists keep bribing them to do nothing because big business is making a killing on sunscreen and survival gear.

 

My fear is that greed will win clear up to the end when the Earth is roasted along with all the corpses of people in their sun-resistant survival shelters.

 

Perhaps NJ was right though, to lighten up a little bit might be a good thing… just as long as the message gets out that we can party on other planets too… once we get to them. 

 

 

MACJR


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