Set your timers, folks. We now know that all life on earth will come to an end, and we know when: One billion years from now.
Alright, so it’s beyond anyone’s lifespan reading this article right now, and to be honest, it’s kind of a hard number to really wrap your head around. But researchers have determined that a billion years from now, the planet will be so hot that nothing will be able to survive on its surface, save for microbial organisms.
Scottish researchers used a computer simulation to see what life on earth will be like one billion years from now. The sun is expected to get hotter and hotter, which will evaporate the oceans and heat up the earth by more than 220 degrees. Only microbes will be able to survive such harsh conditions, and indeed will be the planet’s final survivors.
Jack O’Malley James, from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, said: “There won’t be very much oxygen present, so they need to be able to survive in low or zero-oxygen environments, high pressures, and high salinities because of evaporating oceans.”
Researchers are really looking at two endgames, though: One, they want to use microbes to help astronomers find them on other habitable planets, and they want to find other habitable planets.
“If you were to find an Earth-like planet and to take a snapshot in time of the life living on the surface, it’s more likely that you would find microbial life than you would the more complex life like we see on Earth today,” James said.
Scientists already have a working idea of what to look for.
“One of the best candidates is methane. This could be used to indicate the presence of life, although it depends on how much is produced and whether it builds up to a detectable level in the atmosphere… If we can pick up all these subtle levels of gasses on remote planets – maybe we could detect it,” he continued.
What do you think earth will be like in a billion years?
[Image via: Edenstar Media / Shutterstock]