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Science & Technology

How much longer can Earth support life ?

By T.K. Randall
September 24, 2013 · Comment icon 25 comments



Our planet is likely to be habitable for at least another 1.75 billion years. Image Credit: NASA/Steele Hill
Those concerned about the end of the world needn't worry, our planet is likely to last for a long time.
Talk of the impending demise of all life on Earth reached fever pitch in the run up to December 2012, but once it was clear that the end of the Mayan calendar didn't translate to the coming of the apocalypse some people were left scratching their heads as to exactly how long we have left.

Doomsday predictions aside, the Earth is unlikely to become uninhabitable for an extremely long time. Estimates suggest that our planet will continue to be hospitable to life for another 1.75 to 3.25 billion years.
There are circumstances under which this could change however, including a supernova explosion in a nearby star system, an extinction asteroid impact or even a nuclear apocalypse, but over time our planet is likely to recover from such disasters, even if mankind isn't.

How the demise of Earth's habitability will affect us in billions of years time however remains a moot point. Given the rate at which life evolves on our planet and the rate at which technology has been advancing even over the last 100 years, by the time the Earth becomes uninhabitable we will have either developed well beyond the need for a single planet to live on or we will have already been wiped out long before any such considerations become an issue.

Source: Live Science | Comments (25)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #16 Posted by Doug1029 9 years ago
Evolution is a false doctrine that can not be proved. In fact, it can be disproved. http://www.abovetops...hread163678/pg1 http://www.ucg.org/s...-without-bible/ This probably belongs in the religion section. Doug
Comment icon #17 Posted by questionmark 9 years ago
This probably belongs in the religion section. Doug Nah, not really. It belongs into the trashcan, which is why I chose to ignore it.
Comment icon #18 Posted by Doug1029 9 years ago
Nah, not really. It belongs into the trashcan, which is why I chose to ignore it. Same thing.
Comment icon #19 Posted by rashore 9 years ago
I always find it kind of interesting how much we equate the earth to humanity. Like, OMG, the end of the world! No, just the end of humanity, or a great change to humanity that might feel like the end. I think humans are capable of doing enough damage to the earth in a sudden fashion to irreparably damage our capabilities of living like we do on the earth. I think we are capable of overbreeding to the point where the earths resources are no longer enough to support us. But the earth is a pretty amazing gal that can recover from a lot of damage, so I think it's unlikely we could do so much dama... [More]
Comment icon #20 Posted by questionmark 9 years ago
I always find it kind of interesting how much we equate the earth to humanity. Like, OMG, the end of the world! No, just the end of humanity, or a great change to humanity that might feel like the end. I think humans are capable of doing enough damage to the earth in a sudden fashion to irreparably damage our capabilities of living like we do on the earth. I think we are capable of overbreeding to the point where the earths resources are no longer enough to support us. But the earth is a pretty amazing gal that can recover from a lot of damage, so I think it's unlikely we could do so much dama... [More]
Comment icon #21 Posted by jules99 9 years ago
Humans think human-centric and are very shocked every time they discover that they are wrong (i.e our solar system is Heliocentric and not Terracentric, our planet is at the end of the Galaxy, not in the middle and if humans die out tomorrow nobody would notice). My dog would notice, because he still hasnt learned how to use a can opener..
Comment icon #22 Posted by questionmark 9 years ago
My dog would notice, because he still hasnt learned how to use a can opener.. Why? your remains will still be laying around.
Comment icon #23 Posted by Hawkin 9 years ago
This is a video about Life After People. Interesting. http://youtu.be/6XDbcMND7fY
Comment icon #24 Posted by Mikko-kun 9 years ago
The greatest challenge for our survival will not be an all-ending asteroid nor a nuclear superwar, nor even a supernova. It will be our impotence as a people to act pre-emptively on these things. But whether it's good or bad that we're gone... who knows. I bet another species with just as much stupidity (intelligence that it doesn't use even if it could) will come and do "humans" all over again. Might be a good thing some of us would be around to warn against that.
Comment icon #25 Posted by moonshadow60 9 years ago
In the grand scheme of things, it wouldn't take long for the earth to repair herself after humanity was gone. We are less than fleas on a dog's back.


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