Mark The Date: Scientists Find 1.75 Billion Expiration Date On Earth

earth-screensaver_largeFor those who are fastidious in scheduling on their iPhone planners, you might want to set one of those ten-minute alerts for 1.75 billion years to address any remaining items on your to-do list. Scientists have determined that, absent a nuclear holocaust, catastrophic asteroid or new William Shatner album, the Earth could continue to support life for at least another 1.75 billion years.

Indeed, the calculation is not exactly precise. With a strong wind at our planetary back, we could go as long as 3.25 billion years before the Earth will travel out of the solar system’s habitable zone and into the “hot zone.” We have only been around for 200,000 years, that is still a fairly generous amount of time.

The research can be found in the journal Astrobiology where the total time for the Earth in the habitable zone is calculated at 7.79 billion years. (Earth is estimated to be about 4.5 billion years old unless you are a creationist where you still believe we are only a few thousand years old.)

119 thoughts on “Mark The Date: Scientists Find 1.75 Billion Expiration Date On Earth”

  1. Tony C. 1, September 21, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    … the most intelligent species is not (absent intelligence) the fastest, quickest, best defended, most lethal or anything else; absent intelligence we are essentially prey animals.

    But with intelligence, we dominate the planet and all other species;

    –end of part one–

  2. Gene H. 1, September 21, 2013 at 2:35 pm

    Which means what exactly other than they are famous?

    Absolutely squat, Dredd.

    They are famous because they deserve to be and you are not famous because you deserve not to be.

    That is how evolution works thru Genes.

  3. Gene,

    They don’t know how stars work when mysteries show up, they only know how they evolved.

    So get over there and ‘splain all that stuff and things to ’em.

    Be sure to take your whip and leather thingy …

  4. Gene H. 1, September 22, 2013 at 11:58 am

    I used to tutor astronomy at the college level

    Not hard to figure out why you don’t anymore.

  5. Red Dwarfs are calling Gene:

    One mystery which has not been solved as of 2007 is the absence of red dwarf stars with no metals. (In astronomy, a metal is any element heavier than hydrogen or helium). The Big Bang model predicts the first generation of stars should have only hydrogen, helium, and trace amounts of lithium. If such stars included red dwarfs, they should still be observable today, but none have yet been identified. The preferred explanation is that without heavy elements only large and not yet observed population III stars can form, and these rapidly burn out leaving heavy elements which then allow for the formation of red dwarfs. Alternative explanations, such as that zero-metal red dwarfs are dim and could be few in number, are considered much less likely as they seem to conflict with stellar evolution models.

    (Red Dwarf Mystery). Gene, you should not have stayed on the fringe.

    They need you Tutor Man.

    All these mysteries out there in abiotic evolution land, and you spend your time here with The Monkey Man talking about genetics.

    What a waste of enlightenment.

  6. The ghost of Betelgeuse:

    This is the first direct image of a star other than the Sun, made with NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. Called Alpha Orionis, or Betelgeuse, it is a red supergiant star marking the shoulder of the winter constellation Orion the Hunter (diagram at right).

    The Hubble image reveals a huge ultraviolet atmosphere with a mysterious hot spot on the stellar behemoth’s surface. The enormous bright spot, more than ten times the diameter of Earth, is at least 2,000 Kelvin degrees hotter than the surface of the star.

    The image suggests that a totally new physical phenomenon may be affecting the atmospheres of some stars. Follow-up observations will be needed to help astronomers understand whether the spot is linked to oscillations previously detected in the giant star, or whether it moves systematically across the star’s surface under the grip of powerful magnetic fields.

    (Betelgeuse). Who ya gonna call, ghost busters!

    Bust em Gene.

  7. I used to tutor astronomy at the college level. I can make you look like a fool all day. It’s pretty easy. Especially since you do all the hard work yourself.

  8. That’s right, Dredd. When it’s being shown you have no idea what you are talking about, change the subject. Solar weather prediction and understanding stellar evolution are two different things, dingus.

  9. Word Press censors evidently just got back from church.

    They are evidently righteously indignant and in hyper-censorship mode.

  10. Gene H,

    You are avoiding reality again. Off in the Gene land of straw men imaginations, talking about something only you brought up.

    Mysteriously off base.

    Like the Sun:

    Almost every measure of solar activity flatlined over the weekend. The event, though not unprecedented, is odd considering that our local star has just passed what is supposed to be the peak of its solar cycle, when activity is at its highest.

    “Quite frankly, we’re not very good at solar cycle predictions,” said Rutledge.

    This weekend’s low activity is within the variation that the sun normally experiences and scientists don’t really know what its underlying cause might be.

    (Sun Mysteriously Goes All Quiet Just When Its Activity Should Be Highest). They need you Gene, so, get over and educate them about stuff and things.

  11. I understand what the word “if” means, Dredd.

    I also understand when you’re talking from your nether regions.

    There is no way a revision to our understanding of stellar evolution ends up with a result like SN 2005gl for our sun.


    Simply not enough mass for one thing.

    You’d know that if you actually understood the subject.

    A frog might not bump its butt when it jumps if it had wings.

    That doesn’t make it an aviator.

  12. Gene H. 1, September 22, 2013 at 9:34 am

    As usual, Dredd, you’re not really understanding what you are reading.

    Actually you don’t understand what I am writing as usual.

    I wrote:

    Even if the theory is revised and subsequently applies to the Sun, still the greater danger to the current civilization is not the Sun evaporating the Earth.

    Civilization currently is the main danger to itself.

    Two things would have to happen, the theory is revised and it subsequently applies to the Sun.


    The point was that civilization would still be a greater danger to itself than the Sun in any case.

  13. Word Press censors just got back from church evidently. They are righteously indignant and in hyper-censorship mode evidently.

  14. As usual, Dredd, you’re not really understanding what you are reading.

    Luminous Blue Variables are an extremely rare type of star. First, they are hypergiants. The rule is the larger the star, the faster they burn. Second, they are variable stars. Although we don’t fully understand the helioseismology of LBVs, we do understand the helioseismology of some types of variable stars (like Cepheids) and more common stars like G, K and M stars fairly well. Well enough to know that whatever is causing the erratic behavior of LBVs (unless it’s a transient black hole as Tony suggests), that it is subject to mechanics that simply don’t apply to our much less massive sun. We know that in the entire spectrum of possible stellar forms, that our G2V star is fairly stable (although it like all stars has a resonant frequency) and that this is a good thing for the development of complex life. Any scenario where our sun would collapse prematurely is the ultimate black swan event. Barring something really crazy happening like a transient black hole, our sun will grow old, turn into a red giant (at which time the inner planets, including Earth, will be consumed), shed the bulk of its mass into a planetary nebula, collapse into a white dwarf and then eventually burn out to the totally dead cinder that is a black dwarf. Stars like ours simply don’t go out with a bang as a normal course of event, but with a whimper.

    We understand stellar evolution fairly well. Just because we don’t understand every type of star’s processes doesn’t mean that we don’t understand most stellar processes. Is that knowledge perfect yet? No. But it’s pretty damn good. It’s a big universe and there is a lot of really strange stuff out there, but our sun is about as pedestrian as it gets without being a red dwarf.

  15. Dredd: There are alternative explanations to that story, I am sure.

    For one, they could have under-estimated the age of the star, which is possible since I believe those are found by inference, not direct evidence.

    Secondly, “core implosion” is caused by sudden gravitational collapse of the star core. Well if black holes are scattered throughout the universe and can collide with each other (the central premise of most gravitational wave experiments in physics), then it is far more likely for a black hole to collide with an existing star; and a black hole falling into the star could plausibly cause a sudden gravitational collapse that I think would probably also cause a supernova. Although such a thing should be rare, it cannot be ruled out, and this event is hardly the evidence needed to kill a Theory that explains nearly perfectly the synthesis and statistical distribution of the different kinds of atoms we see throughout the universe.

  16. In my first comment I mentioned a post that quotes from:

    A massive star a million times brighter than our sun exploded way too early in its life, suggesting scientists don’t understand stellar evolution as well as they thought.

    This might mean that we are fundamentally wrong about the evolution of massive stars, and that theories need revising,” said Avishay Gal-Yam of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel.

    According to theory, the doomed star, about 100 times our sun’s mass, was not mature enough to have evolved a massive iron core of nuclear fusion ash, considered a prerequisite for a core implosion that triggers the sort of supernova blast that was seen.

    (Star Explodes, and So Might Theory, emphasis added). Even if the theory is revised and subsequently applies to the Sun, still the greater danger to the current civilization is not the Sun evaporating the Earth.

    Civilization currently is the main danger to itself.

  17. Dredd: So why are you worried about the asteroids, and why did you say upthread “Humanity is collectively mentally ill, so focused upon immediate rewards that we don’t care if it kills us to get them.”

    A drug addict is not suicidal, Dredd. They want something so bad they ignore risks and long term consequences, but that does not make them suicidal, just sort of unconcerned with their fate beyond their next fix.

    To me, that is a form of mental illness, it is irrationality to the point of endangering one’s self and endangering others. Don’t misunderstand: Irrationality is okay in my book, but in its extremes it stops being okay and starts being dangerous.

    That is why I say Humanity is mentally ill, because it acts irrationally to the point of endangering itself.

    That does not mean Humanity is suicidal. And it is not some form of “intelligence” that is causing the danger, it is some form of stupidity, ignorance, addiction, greed, or a dangerous rejection of responsibility for the consequences of one’s actions.

  18. Kinda, Bron. His error is a little more subtle than that and akin to what David does when he plays at lawyer. He often appeals to the right kind of authority but very often gets what they are saying wrong and/or out of context.

  19. Which means what exactly other than they are famous?

    Absolutely squat, Dredd.

    Just because they have contributed to science doesn’t mean that some of their ideas aren’t out there and that everything they say is golden. If you want to be technical, it can be said that Joseph Mengele contributed greatly to modern medicine and the physiology of human endurance. Doesn’t mean he didn’t have some crazy ideas. Einstein couldn’t even come to grips with the implications of his work that resulted in Quantum Mechanics. Which resulted in the famous exchange of quotes “God does not play dice with the universe” to which Niels Bohr responded “Don’t tell God what to do with his dice.”

    I seek to point out that your mindless worship of science, best exemplified by your ridiculous and total misunderstanding and misapplication of microbiology into something akin to worshiping The Force (of Bacteria) is buffoonery.

    Because it is.

    Replacing a blind faith in religion with a blind faith in science is still blindness. A hypothesis, no matter how attractive sounding, is just that until enough evidence exists to make it part of a cogent theory which then still requires refinement to distill laws. You like to state hypotheses as if they were fact simply because someone famous had them. That is bad science.

    Again, while there is evidence that some mutations related to intellectual and emotional capacities are arguably lethal, there is no evidence that intelligence itself is a lethal mutation and for the reasons stated above.

    And what Tony said about the nature of the advance of science in general. Much of your extremism in biology is rooted in personality within the field taking the “symbiosis is everything” tack versus the “genetic determinism” crowd. Both of which miss the boat entirely on how natural selection works. Monolithic thinking is simply not the way the universe generally operates and silver bullet solutions are as rare as hen’s teeth.

    Also, you should know I don’t read anything you link to as a matter of general principle. Why? Because referring to your own blog isn’t a valid appeal to authority but especially when you generally don’t understand what it is you’re are reading and citing. I’m still laughing about you thinking abiotic chemistry is alive simply because it can replicate.

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