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The End of Planet Earth
Main Articles - Space Disasters
December 22, 2007

Will the Earth end?

The end of planet Earth refers to hypotheses of when the Earth either completely ceases to exist as a planet or becomes uninhabitable for life.

According to astronomers, the Earth should last for at least 5 billion (5×109) more years before the Sun becomes a red giant. Due to the Sun's loss of mass the Earth would escape to an orbit at a further distance than its current orbit. The immense heat however would likely boil off the oceans and turn the Earth into a barren wasteland similar to 21st-century Mercury. Irrespective of the Earth surviving that event, the Sun will have further evolved into a white dwarf and provide too little heat to sustain life.

Others say the atmosphere will lose its water vapor into space within 1.1 billion years because the sun will become about 10% hotter, and that the oceans will evaporate within 3.5 billion years when the sun is 40% hotter. Arthur C Clarke once coined the term "sungevity" to put a name to the period, which is as long as life as we know it can exist, at least on this planet.

In 3.5 billion years (3.5×109) the Andromeda Galaxy will collide with the Milky Way Galaxy, though given the vastness of interstellar space, few solar systems would be directly affected. Most scientists, however, believe that our solar system will escape unharmed, though there is a chance that it may be ejected from the merging galaxies altogether.

Most scenarios concerning the ultimate fate of the universe would subsequently destroy the Earth (in the unlikely event of Earth lasting that long).

The end of planet Earth is not necessarily synonymous with the extinction of humanity. Just as it is possible for the Earth to outlive humanity, it is also possible for humanity in the future to find other places to live—and, perhaps, outlive the Earth.

Source : Wikipedia - Copyright 



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