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How long will the earth last for?

How long will the earth last for?
Kezia from Cumbria (Aged 5-14)


One Response

  1. Assuming we aren’t destroyed by a random and unpredictable event such as a very large object hitting our planet, Earth should be around for quite some time. However, it won’t always stay the way it is today, and it all depends on the Sun.

    The Sun is actually getting steadily hotter. Not so much that over our life-times, or even over the time humans have existed, we would notice, but it has been happening. Scientists currently believe that within about 900 million years the Sun will become too hot for life as we know it to survive on Earth. Within another billion or so years there’s unlikely to be any liquid water (essential to all living things we know about) left on Earth.

    Eventually, about 5 and a half billion years from now the Sun will expand to become a red giant, and it’s diameter will increase to beyond Earth’s orbit. If Earth is still in (or close to) this orbit it will be obliterated. However, the Sun is steadily losing mass as it converts it to energy and as matter is blasted away from it’s surface. If it’s mass decreases then so does it’s gravitational pull on the planets, so Earth’s orbit will probably expand, taking it further away from the Sun.

    Whether this will mean Earth will escape the red giant is something astrophysicists are still trying to determine, though by this point Earth will have been uninhabitable for billions of years.

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