Ever wonder how long this blue ball of mass that we call Earth will actually last? Long past our lifetimes for sure, but how long exactly? While there are plenty of factors that could change the latest figure, a new study by Researcher Andrew Rushby calculates that Earth should still be more than capable of hosting life for at least 1.75 billion more years.
Of course, that’s provided that we don’t destroy it through pollution, nukes or another man-made disaster. That’s also providing that we aren’t invaded by aliens or hit by a big ole’ asteroid.
Even if Earth sticks around that long, it doesn’t mean things will look even remotely the same. There’s also no guarantees that human beings will still be here by then.
The Earth has changed a lot of the course of its lifespan, as evidenced by the fact that around 200 million years ago this planet was ruled by giant bird/lizard-like creatures were affectionately know as dinosaurs. And that evolutionary change will continue long after all of us are in our graves.
Earth’s Habitable Zone and What it Means For the Planet’s Future
Back to the habitable lifespan of Earth.
The idea is that somewhere between 1.75 billion and 3.25 billion years from now, our planet will travel out of the habitable zone of our solar system and will heat up dramatically. That will pretty much be it for any creatures still living on Earth by that point.
So how did the Rushby and the other researchers come up with this habitable life figure?
The team created a tool that predicts how much time a planet spends in their system’s habitable zone, based on various factors. For Earth, that time period comes out to 7.79 billion years, and we’ve already used up about 4.5 billion of it. Keep in mind that this habitable-zone lifetime could range for other planets from as little as 1 billion years to as much as 54.72 billion years.
“If we ever needed to move to another planet, Mars is probably our best bet,” says Rushby. “It’s very close and will remain in the habitable zone until the end of the sun’s lifetime — 6 billion years from now.”
Pretty cool stuff. Bottom-line, unless we mess things up ourselves, or a fluke of nature destroy’s our planet, Earth should be here for a very long time.