NASA figures we’ve got about a billion years before the sun kills us all

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A team of researchers working with NASA has finally figured out when the sun will burn all the oxygen on our planet, destroying all life on Earth. According to their calculation, this will happen somewhere around the year 1,000,002,021. If you are still on the waiting list for tickets to Hamilton, you may need to plan accordingly.

In a research paper published on Monday, the team describes the last moments before Earth loses its ability to support life as we know it:

We find that future deoxygenation is an inevitable consequence of increased solar fluxes, as its precise timing is modulated by the flux of reducing power exchange between the mantle and the ocean-atmosphere-crustal system.

In other words, in about a billion years (we don’t know if that counts leap days or holidays), the slowly growing solar radiation will have reached a point of no return for our atmosphere.

The team came to this conclusion after modeling and running an algorithm-based simulation hundreds of thousands of times. According to a press release from Tohoku University, one of the NASA project partners:

Because the modeling of the future evolution of the Earth inherently involves uncertainties about the geological and biological evolutions, a stochastic approach was adopted, allowing the researchers to obtain a probabilistic estimate of the lifespan of an oxygenated atmosphere.

[Kazumi Ozaki, Assistant Professor at Tohoku University] ran the model over 400,000 times, varying the model parameters, and found that Earth’s oxygen-rich atmosphere will likely persist for another billion years (1.08 ± 0.14 (1σ) billion d ‘years) before rapid deoxygenation made the atmosphere reminiscent of the early Earth before the great oxidation event about 2.5 billion years ago.

This, of course, is the opposite of human induced climate change. It is relatively easy to predict when the sun will destroy our planet because the sun is on a fairly stable arc. The current climate crisis, as the overwhelming majority of climatologists recognize, is unnatural and an aberration when you compare it to data representing the 2.5 billion years our planet had an atmosphere before the appearance of the humans.

The bad news is that our planet is likely to become uninhabitable long before the sun chokes out all of Earth’s plant life and then burns its atmosphere. But the good news is, if we’re smart enough to solve our current problems, we still have a billion years to figure out how to stabilize the star that gave us life.

You can read the entire document here.

H / t: Hannah Kronast, News Center

Published March 4, 2021 – 22:01 UTC


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