Research suggests that the expanding, brightening sun will eventually consume the Earth. But Avi Loeb, the chair of astronomy at Harvard University, doesn't believe that this threat is the one thing people need to worry about the most. In an op-ed written for Scientific American, Loeb argues that human civilization will probably go extinct by "self-inflicted wounds" before the sun engulfs the planet, Newsweek reports.
In the article, Loeb suggests that humans have plenty of available options to protect themselves from a brightening sun. He pointed to methods being looked at to curb global warming's impact and noted that modern humans needed just 100,000 years to adapt from life in the African forest and savannas to "squeezing into a tiny apartment in Manhattan."
According to Loeb, humans need to begin looking at other planets if the species wants to survive the expanding sun. He claims that people should create "genetically identical copies" of Earth's animals and plants and spread them to other planets and star systems, which he believes would make "annihilation" from a single catastrophe less likely.
But ultimately, Loeb believes that it's unlikely humans will survive long enough to consider colonizing other planets.
"After reading this morning's newspaper, I am inclined to believe that our civilization will disappear as a result of self-inflicted wounds long before the sun will pose its predictable threat," he wrote.
"Why do I believe that? Because the dead silence we hear so far from the numerous habitable exoplanets we've discovered may indicate that advanced civilizations have much shorter lives than their host stars."A Space report revealed in May that Loeb has touched on his somewhat dark views of humanity before. He previously suggested that the behavior of humanity that could threaten its future may have similarly led to the extinction of advanced alien races in other parts of the galaxy.
According to Loeb, these demises may be the reason that humans have yet to contact aliens, despite the many habitable areas in the Milky Way.
"One possibility is that these civilizations, based on the way we behave, are short-lived. They think short term, and they produce self-inflicted wounds that eventually kill them."As The Inquisitr previously reported, some scientists believe that the Earth is currently undergoing a sixth mass extinction due to increasing ocean temperature, deforestation, and climate change. But it's not all gloom and doom — some, such as Dr. Ashley Dineen, a museum scientist of invertebrate paleontology at the California Academy of Sciences, believe that humans can look to other species and communities that have survived and recovered from extinction events for guidance.