An artist’s impression of the Earth as the Sun swells and increases the temperatures
of the Earth so that it can no longer sustain life. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Swansong Biospheres

Posted: 12/20/12
Author: Amanda Doyle

Summary: Billions of years from now, life on Earth will be extinguished when the Sun becomes a Red Giant star. New research determines the last places life will exist before our planet is sterilized.

The last refuges for life on the far-future Earth

Billions of years from now, life on Earth will be extinguished when the dying Sun scorches the surface of our planet. New research has aimed to determine what the last life forms on Earth will be, and what kind of abodes they will cling to before the Earth becomes sterilized.

We are fortunate that our planet orbits a star that has a long main sequence lifetime. However the Sun’s luminosity is gradually increasing, and in about one billion years time the effects of this will start to be felt on Earth. Surface temperatures will start to creep relentlessly upwards over the next few billion years, which will increase the amount of water vapor in the air. This will act to further increase temperatures and will thus signify the beginning of the end for life on Earth.

Read more: Swansong Biospheres — Astrobiology Magazine.

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