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Studies Say Earth Won't Die As Soon As Thought

samzenpus posted about 8 months ago | from the plenty-of-time dept.

Earth 155

sciencehabit writes "Take a deep breath—Earth is not going to die as soon as scientists believed. Two new modeling studies find that the gradually brightening sun won't vaporize our planet's water for at least another 1 billion to 1.5 billion years—hundreds of millions of years later than a slightly older model had forecast. The findings won't change your retirement plans but could imply that habitable, Earth-like alien worlds are more common than scientists thought."

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Damn. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46043827)

I wish you'd told me this yesterday.

Re:Damn. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46044029)

why? did you lose your ass cherry to a nigger today?

Re:Damn. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46044081)

I love how people project their desires onto others. I'm not sure why, but that made me remind that homophobe in American Beauty.

Re:Damn. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46044613)

I love how people project their desires onto others. I'm not sure why, but that made me remind that homophobe in American Beauty.

I'd like to fuck a female nigger

That's a relief! (4, Funny)

narcc (412956) | about 8 months ago | (#46043831)

The older prediction had me worried.

Re:That's a relief! (3, Funny)

Eunuchswear (210685) | about 8 months ago | (#46043973)

Scene: a lecture theatre.

Lecturer: .... and in 1 billion to 1.5 billion years the sun will vaporise all the oceans...
Student: What!
Lecturer: I said that in around 1 billion to 1.5 billion years...
Student: Oh! That's a relief, I thought you said Million!

Re:That's a relief! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46044035)

ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. that is so funny man you should be a comedian.

Re:That's a relief! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46044069)

Was that the same student who suggested it would be safe to land on the sun if they did it at night?

Re:That's a relief! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46044531)

No, that's the Zimbabwean space program.

Re:That's a relief! (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 8 months ago | (#46044795)

And of course, they have much more experience with our sun in Zimbabwe, so you should take them seriously!

Re:That's a relief! (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about 8 months ago | (#46044583)

Was that the same student who suggested it would be safe to land on the sun if they did it at night?

Or that lunar landings had better wait for a full moon so that they would have a bigger target.

Re:That's a relief! (2)

michelcolman (1208008) | about 8 months ago | (#46044435)

They should have kept this secret and stuck with the earlier prediction as a deadline for getting off this planet. Then, when it turns out we're not actually ready yet by that time, you can give us the relieving "ok, you've got another few hundreds of millions of years but that's final". Our species is notoriously bad at making deadlines.

Re:That's a relief! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46044459)

Scientists cannot get any of their models to reflect reality so they swing between the two extremes of all-clear and doom-and-gloom. The weather forecasting models rarely predict the weather accurately. The age of the Earth is uncertain despite scientists claiming they know with absolute certainty it must be between 150 million and 2 billion years old; cue the specious claims about the dinosaur fossil dating. I am surprised man was able to get to the Moon and back. Proof the aliens have visited us and and are among us; most likely running the government and corporations.

Newton, Einstein, Curie, Galileo, Copernicus, et. al were real scientists. Today we have charlatans for industry and government posing as scientists.

harrumph (2)

andyh (5426) | about 8 months ago | (#46043833)

Pretty sure I'll still be working at the point of vapourisation given the never ending increases in retirement age and lifespan.

Challenge accepted! (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46043839)

Challenge accepted, bitches!

Fuck your 10 post limit. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46043859)

Meet random free proxy.
I had something to say, but forgot it due to being blocked.
No wonder people write bots to spam this shit with goatse links and misheard lyrics.
Eat shit.

Re:Fuck your 10 post limit. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46044243)

Meet random free proxy.
I had something to say, but forgot it due to being blocked.
No wonder people write bots to spam this shit with goatse links and misheard lyrics.

Never hit that limit, and I don't think there's a person on /. that isn't aware or have a free proxy at their disposal.
10 message limit... think of the spam you could launch if not for the limit.

So concerned about finding away to access /. you forgot what you wanted to say.

Re:Fuck your 10 post limit. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46044345)

A proxy, what type of Coward, eh, I mean anonymity connoisseur, doesn't post through the TOR network using a Yagi aimed at the free wifi down the str... Um, never mind.

Also it's hard to aim a Yagi through the basement window. Especially, when mom says that HOA won't allow the antenna to stick outside.

Re:Fuck your 10 post limit. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46044535)

10 post limit is for people that are turds, Wastes of human feces that float in the water....

Us normals never have the problem.

In the words of Robin Williams... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46043889)

"Well thanks for the f**king heads up!"

terrible news (5, Funny)

Trepidity (597) | about 8 months ago | (#46043895)

This is going to wreak havok with the GNU/Hurd development schedule.

Re:terrible news (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46044175)

There's a good Duke Nukem Forever joke hiding somewhere in there, but it would now be as obsolete as the big drums of extra powerful sun tan lotion I left in my testament for my descendants. I might as well crack a "Does it run Crysis?" joke for all the good it would do.

It's funny! Laugh!

Re:terrible news (1)

michelcolman (1208008) | about 8 months ago | (#46044447)

At least maybe we'll get to play Half Life 3.

Re:terrible news (3, Funny)

ccanucs (2529272) | about 8 months ago | (#46044625)

And the Perl 6 final release schedule :-)

The pressure's off (1)

David Govett (2825317) | about 8 months ago | (#46043903)

Whew! I was worried.

Where is everybody? (3, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | about 8 months ago | (#46043909)

It's an input to the Drake equation. That's worth looking at again. When Drake wrote it, most of the numbers were guesses, but we now know that exoplanets are not rare.

I suspect the reason we haven't heard from anybody is that the lifetime of high-power technological civilizations is only a few hundred to a thousand years. We're only about 200 years into industrial society, and we've already burned through most of the easy to get natural resources.

Re:Where is everybody? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 8 months ago | (#46043931)

Assuming you are looking for RF, rather than UFOs, even short lived civilizations should show up, just as some of the stars that are presently visible to us are in fact long dead; but very far away.

This would be immensely frustrating, of course, since virtually any signal you receive would be from a civilization that is either already dead or will already be dead by the time your reply, if you wish to attempt one, reaches them; but it would still be distinguishable from silence.

Re:Where is everybody? (1)

davester666 (731373) | about 8 months ago | (#46044031)

but think of it as a circular wave that emanates from a planet, like a circular expanding donut [the inside=death of the planet or they've moved on]. what are the odds that that wave just happens to be passing by us now that we have the capability of possibly noticing it?

Re:Where is everybody? (1)

rioki (1328185) | about 8 months ago | (#46044183)

It actually get's worse. The "why haven't we heard from them" paradox was based on the fact that in the 60s scientists could not imagine an advanced civilization without strong RF emissions. But we are already strongly dialing back the RF emissions by putting more onto wires, using more directed beams and lower power emissions. This overall means that in a couple of decades the earth will not emit any decipherable RF transition, either since most RF has died out or because you can not make out a signal from the noise. I dough that a satellite in LEO can pickup and decipher WiFi or mobile transmissions, so why should aliens be able to do so. All we will be is an anomaly strong RF source, but probably not of intelligent origin.

Re:Where is everybody? (1)

sFurbo (1361249) | about 8 months ago | (#46044427)

IIRC, the brightest man-made electromagnetic sources are over-the-horizon radars [wikipedia.org] . I think the use of them will drop off much slower than the use of RF for information. The signal will show a 24 hour cycle due to the rotation of the earth. That means that the detecting intelligent life on Earth will be possible for a longer time, though deciphering messages will not be possible.

Re:Where is everybody? (5, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | about 8 months ago | (#46044599)

If you think the uplinks to the Geostationary satellites are low power and dont spread out, you really dont understand RF or satellite comms. Some of the older TV birds up there are almost deaf, so we are BLASTING 100,000 watts of energy into a 25 to 30 db gain antenna to hit them. when the signal hits it, it is not 3 inches around and fits nicely in the receiving antenna, it's about 5 miles across, and will continue to spread.

Here is the problem. Radio waves drop in strength Logarithmically. Which means even a 100,000 watt tightly beamed RF signal will be barely above the noise floor before it even get's 4X the diameter of our solar system away. When they talk to Voyager 1 or 2 they are using the largest dish antenna on the planet, and then they are blasting an ungodly amount of power to barely reach it. They also are using the 8GHZ band that has a very low noise floor and almost no interference within a lightyear.

Voyager has a 23 watt transmitter, but a large gain antenna focusing it at earth, but it requires the massive 1000 foot dish or a huge array of smaller dishes to barely receive it. and not much longer, we will not have an antenna with enough gain on this planet to receive it's signal any longer. within the next 4-5 years we are expected to lose all contact with Voyager 1. And this thing is just in out back yard a few feet from the house.

Even if an alien race knew where earth was exactly, and had a 1000 foot dish antenna with a 10Terawatt transmitter pointed right at us. If they were not within a 20 lightyear radius of the earth, their signal would not reach us at a strength that we could detect today.

Re:Where is everybody? (1)

dave420 (699308) | about 8 months ago | (#46044733)

"Birds"? I know it's satellite parlance, but really? Most birds fly, and satellites are constantly falling. Why not just call them satellites?

Re:Where is everybody? (1)

Trax3001BBS (2368736) | about 8 months ago | (#46044915)

"Birds"? I know it's satellite parlance, but really? Most birds fly, and satellites are constantly falling. Why not just call them satellites?

You can't ask someone to change their "training" each technology has it's nomenclature, To me that was written by someone from Air Force,
or not but an expected terminology.

Re:Where is everybody? (2)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 8 months ago | (#46045079)

They keep calling F-35 "a fighter", but haven't seen it fight anything recently but problems.

Re:Where is everybody? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46045171)

Guy's watched too many movies; thinks it makes him sound cool and in-the-know,.

Re:Where is everybody? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about 8 months ago | (#46043939)

Well, "easy" is relative. Replace "easy" with "cheaply" and you're closer to reality.

Take oil for example. 50 years ago the prediction was that 20 years later (i.e. 30 years ago), crude oil is a thing of the past. Well, there still is some. There's oil sands for example, something nobody would have even considered interesting 50 years ago due to far cheaper deposits being available. Well, now that the barrel broke through the 100 bucks barrier, other sources, more expensive sources, become viable.

It's the same with every other kind of resource. Resources rarely "vanish". They're just very hard and hence expensive to recycle sometimes. Just wait for the price to rise and you will find that someone will come up with a way to extract resources from other sources. More expensively, most likely, but if the cheap deposit is gone and we need that resource, we will have to pay the price.

Re:Where is everybody? (1)

Eunuchswear (210685) | about 8 months ago | (#46043983)

Well, "easy" is relative. Replace "easy" with "cheaply" and you're closer to reality.

Why replace? They mean the same thing.

Re:Where is everybody? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46044053)

Well, "easy" is relative. Replace "easy" with "cheaply" and you're closer to reality.

Take oil for example. 50 years ago the prediction was that 20 years later (i.e. 30 years ago), crude oil is a thing of the past. Well, there still is some. There's oil sands for example, something nobody would have even considered interesting 50 years ago due to far cheaper deposits being available. Well, now that the barrel broke through the 100 bucks barrier, other sources, more expensive sources, become viable.

It's the same with every other kind of resource. Resources rarely "vanish". They're just very hard and hence expensive to recycle sometimes. Just wait for the price to rise and you will find that someone will come up with a way to extract resources from other sources. More expensively, most likely, but if the cheap deposit is gone and we need that resource, we will have to pay the price.

Fantastic. So, when will society collapse to the point of using humans as fuel? Wonder what the price point is for that.

I guess at that point we'll have no choice but to eat the rich. They'll be the only ones driving.

Re:Where is everybody? (3, Insightful)

rioki (1328185) | about 8 months ago | (#46044197)

For example, I have seen a documentary where scientists are starting to consider digging up metals, such as copper from old garbage dumps. It the price for these resources makes this viable, it will be done. Same goes with all things "green", if the cost/benefit ratio makes it viable, it will be widely adapted.

Re:Where is everybody? (1)

Muad'Dave (255648) | about 8 months ago | (#46045243)

The situation that just infuriates me is the disposal of so-called 'nuclear waste' - if the government and greenies didn't have their collective heads up their butts we'd be burning that 'waste' in reactors that can extract the remaining 99% of the energy that was present in the original fuel. Instead we're going to vitrify it and bury it away.

Re:Where is everybody? (3, Insightful)

tlambert (566799) | about 8 months ago | (#46043957)

I suspect the reason we haven't heard from anybody is that the lifetime of high-power technological civilizations is only a few hundred to a thousand years. We're only about 200 years into industrial society, and we've already burned through most of the easy to get natural resources.

Not really. We're just too stupid to reprocess nuclear waste, or build breeder reactors, in the U.S.. France isn't that stupid.

Re:Where is everybody? (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about 8 months ago | (#46044361)

Isn't France dropping its nuclear power commitment by half?

Re:Where is everybody? (1)

MMC Monster (602931) | about 8 months ago | (#46044737)

Or place solar collectors/converters in space. Once you do that (and can manage scaling issues) no more concerns about energy for quite some time.

Re:Where is everybody? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46044089)

We haven't heard from anybody because everybody is fucking hiding. And if we're smart we'll hide too for as long as we can.

Re:Where is everybody? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46045517)

We haven't heard from anybody because everybody is fucking hiding. And if we're smart we'll hide too for as long as we can.

Why? If you have done nothing wrong, you have nothing to hide, right? :-)

Thinking again, that of course means we do have reason to hide ... very, very well!

Re:Where is everybody? (1)

aslashdotaccount (539214) | about 8 months ago | (#46044111)

And out people are so obsessed with making money just to spend it on personal pleasure that we're not preparing for a future of mining for resources on distant planets and moons. How many big business people at Davos will be discussing this?

Re:Where is everybody? (1)

Njovich (553857) | about 8 months ago | (#46044127)

A factor of 1.5 won't matter for the drake equation, hell, a factor of 1000 is inconsequential. The only relevant parts are fl and fi (chance of life, and chance of life evolving into intelligent life), and we will never find them out even in approximation.

Re:Where is everybody? (2)

sandertje (1748324) | about 8 months ago | (#46044307)

The chance of life parameter is very measurable. We can now find the spectrum of exoplanet atmospheres. A dead giveaway of life is free oyxgen; ever find free oxygen in the atmosphere of an exoplanet and it's sure to have a biosphere. Free oxygen reacts too quickly with just about everything to be caused by geologic processes. Sure, this approach won't find those planets with life that does not run on oxygen, but it will find those with a biochemistry somewhat similar to our own.

Re:Where is everybody? (0)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 8 months ago | (#46044227)

I suspect the reason we haven't heard from anybody is that the lifetime of high-power technological civilizations is only a few hundred to a thousand years.

Alternatively, after multiple millennia of exo-christians predicting the end of the world, space Jesus raptured everyone just to get them to STFU and that's why we haven't heard from any alien civilizations yet.

Re:Where is everybody? (1)

michelcolman (1208008) | about 8 months ago | (#46044453)

And give it another 100 years before anyone can 3D-print a nuclear bomb. We may not even get to exhaust our resources.

Then again, some other species will probably rise from our ashes. Plenty of bacteria will be left over to evolve into something similar to us.

Re:Where is everybody? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46045275)

1) A printer doesn't magically create Uranium
2) If you are counting on bacteria evolving into intelligent life, you'll find that it took 3 Billion years last time and the Sun doesn't have that kind of productive lifetime left.

Re:Where is everybody? (1)

michelcolman (1208008) | about 8 months ago | (#46045435)

1) A printer doesn't magically create Uranium

Not yet. What technology did we have a hundred years ago? Who knows what's possible a hundred years further ahead.

2) If you are counting on bacteria evolving into intelligent life, you'll find that it took 3 Billion years last time and the Sun doesn't have that kind of productive lifetime left.

OK, I stand corrected. How about some insects or small mammals surviving? That should cut down the required amount of evolution a fair bit.

Re:Where is everybody? (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 8 months ago | (#46044549)

The drake equation does not take into consideration that most civilizations destroy themselves when they achieve the point of being able to communicate. We are at that point right now, we may simply wink out in a large war in the next 50 years. but if we make it past that 50 year point we will have the technology to much more, unless we create a new super weapon, then the cycle starts all over.

Because as a species we are not very evolved. We gladly kill each other over really stupid shit.

Re:Where is everybody? (2)

MyLongNickName (822545) | about 8 months ago | (#46045295)

Actually it does... it is the last variable "L", the length of time that civilizations release detectible signals into space. By your theory, this L is very low.

Re:Where is everybody? (1)

MyLongNickName (822545) | about 8 months ago | (#46045391)

The drake equation does not take into consideration that most civilizations destroy themselves when they achieve the point of being able to communicate

One other point... we have a data set of less than one to work with, ourselves. I do not think that we can extrapolate based on our experience. Can we say with any kind of certainty that other species would follow a similar evolutionary path as ours? Would a smaller planet result in a slower evolutionary process and less global conflict once intelligence does arise? I don't know the answer to that or the thousands of other questions about how intelligent life arises. Regardless, one data point is worthless in trying to extrapolate to a whole universe.

And the reason why I say we have LESS than one example... our data point is still in progress. Perhaps the last few centuries were growing pains and we will finally mature... perhaps you are right and we destroy ourselves.

Re:Where is everybody? (1)

devent (1627873) | about 8 months ago | (#46044901)

That is assuming that intelligent life did evolve. We as human species were extremely lucky. There were at least 5 mass extinction in the pass, killing about 98% of all species every time. About 99% of all species existed went extinct on earth. Who knows how life would have evolve if the dinosaurs did not went extinct, giving way for small rodent-like mammals that evolved in primates and ultimately in us. Also if the land mass would be slightly different we couldn't have emigrated out of Africa, probably would went extinct in Africa. Even if we successful emigrate out of Africa the first time, maybe we wouldn't have the second time, thus the Neanderthals would probably still dominate Europe and Asia.

Evolution does not have a goal. Homo sapien is on the same evolutionary level then every other living species. We just took a different path on adapting for survival then the other species. Also this universe is not fine tuned for life, it is extremely hostile to life. I mean, alone the slim band of temperature from -20 to +40 degrees Celsius for life shows that.

Climate change (1, Funny)

Okian Warrior (537106) | about 8 months ago | (#46043919)

This is the sort of thing that gives ammunition to climate change deniers.

How can congress formulate national policies to deal with impending issues like this when the timeframes keep changing?

At least now they won't have to rush things. Another 100 million years or so of inaction shouldn't make much difference.

Re:Climate change (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46044047)

Whatever. Jesus is about to come on u—come get us and take us to heaven for 1,000 years, after which he'll destroy and recreate the earth and we'll all eat plants and not animals and nobody will poop or die (ignore the plants). It says so right here in my interpretation of this one edition of my group's preferred translation of the bible.

See?
4000 bc: Creation
2000 bc: Teh Floood
0: Gezus frees us
ad 2000: Return of the Jesi
ad 3000: A New Earth

Only the foolish take these megapredictions srsly (0)

rolfwind (528248) | about 8 months ago | (#46043937)

We can't even replace someone's arm or liver (yet), or predict weather out farther than a week or two (and not even that super reliably), and have a probe barely out of our single solar system and yet people take these megapredictions so srsly.

I find the work on how the universe was in the past or will be in the future fascinating, but would laugh at anybody trying to stake a serious claim on it being ultimately true. Sure, it may be possibly true, as well as all the predictions predicated on the big bang or explaining what went on the first thousands of years on it, but the grain of salt I'm taking it with ought to be the size of the moon.

Whatever happens, let's hope the species evolved into some higher form (regression is possible) and some get off this rock before bad shit happens. I'm far more worried about a huge asteroid hit or a mega volcano under yellow stone ushering a global iceage than the eventual death of the planet by being boiled by an expanding sun.

Re:Only the foolish take these megapredictions srs (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about 8 months ago | (#46044007)

Doesn't take large-scale long-term forecasts seriously. Is worried about Yellowstone caldera and global ice age, hopes we evolve into superbeings.

In all seriousness the physics involved in the forecast in the article are probably simpler than the physics involved in predicting Yellowstone's changes of eruption.

Re:Only the foolish take these megapredictions srs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46044207)

Actually no they aren't. They are missing vast swags of data to call these anything but wild guesses based on extremely incomplete (and likely inaccurate) data, external influences that will affect the earth such as asteroids and distant stars are unkowne, not to mention they still are struggling to understand the sun, hell the last 12 months of low solar activity still has them stumped and yet you think they have enough of an understanding to work out a good model for what will happen in a billions years time?

Re:Only the foolish take these megapredictions srs (1)

rolfwind (528248) | about 8 months ago | (#46044213)

Is worried about...

No, read what I wrote again. More worried != worried, in the same way a isdn is faster than dialup, but neither are fast.

Just a few short decades ago, black holes weren't thought to exist and if they did, be rare things, now they are at the center of every galaxy playing a huge part in galactic formation. There is a lot of hand waving going on with dark matter and dark energy, which is code for "we don't know wtf is going on", so excuse my skepticism on the "simple physics" of it all.

Re:Only the foolish take these megapredictions srs (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about 8 months ago | (#46044289)

No offense intended, my bad.

Re:Only the foolish take these megapredictions srs (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about 8 months ago | (#46044009)

I find the work on how the universe was in the past or will be in the future fascinating, but would laugh at anybody trying to stake a serious claim on it being ultimately true.

Well, it's a good thing that no scientists resemble your straw man. The scientists come up with an educated guess and test it, refining it as they go. Newton's laws still work great for lots of things, despite Einsteins curved space-time being a more accurate (but still wrong) formulation of reality. The very foundation of science itself is the notion that everything we know is not the ultimate truth.

Woah... dude. Thought's gonna die? (3, Insightful)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 8 months ago | (#46043959)

Studies say Earth won't die as soon as Thought

Judging from the way some people act on this planet, Thought died a long time ago. That's right, I said it!

Re:Woah... dude. Thought's gonna die? (1)

geekmux (1040042) | about 8 months ago | (#46044063)

Studies say Earth won't die as soon as Thought

Judging from the way some people act on this planet, Thought died a long time ago. That's right, I said it!

Yup, you said it. But you misspelled most.

Re:Woah... dude. Thought's gonna die? (5, Insightful)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 8 months ago | (#46044095)

Man, it's easy to get modded Insightful round here.

Re:Woah... dude. Thought's gonna die? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46045245)

let me pay homage to Thought with a few thoughts of my own:

1. Thought was a great thought. Although I didnt think about Thought (or even think about having a thought) often enough,the times that I did think about Thought I realized that I was already having a Thought so there really wasnt much to think about.

2. The Thought process greatly revolutionized the way we think about thinking thoughts.If I didnt have a thought process to think about thoughts, well, it would be much harder to think about the thoughts i was already thinking about.

Thanks Thought!

Damn... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46043969)

First the Mayans were wrong and now this? How hard can it be to predict the end of the world??? Geez...

Re:Damn... (3, Funny)

Sique (173459) | about 8 months ago | (#46044055)

We don't have many successful end-of-world-predictions to draw conclusions from.

Human conditions (1)

aslashdotaccount (539214) | about 8 months ago | (#46044025)

The real question is how long conditions within human tolerance limits would last. The Mayans were wrong about 2012 (provided people who interpreted their writings weren't duped by a bunch of Mayan 'pot'-heads), but we can't deny the climate changes that have been unfolding the past few centuries, even if we factor in the effects of human industry. Has anyone done a study on just what period of Earth's existence sustained biological life? Is that important in understanding the possibilities of colonizing other worlds?

Re:Human conditions (1)

Viol8 (599362) | about 8 months ago | (#46044203)

"The Mayans were wrong about 2012"

There's a surprise. Standard issue end-of-the-world religious prediction turns out to be incorrect. Who'd have thought eh?

"Has anyone done a study on just what period of Earth's existence sustained biological life?"

Yes, but the jury is still out on that one because most rock strata that were around billions of years ago have long since been subducted or eroded away taking any evidence of early life with them. Plus single cell organisms don't fossilize well.

Re:Human conditions (1)

aslashdotaccount (539214) | about 8 months ago | (#46044505)

Shouldn't be impossible to graphically estimate the onset of life from its expansion from the earliest recorded fossils. Given that Earth's been around 4.5 billion years and now is projected to be around for another billion, an error of a million or so years wouldn't be an issue. BUT, the remainder of a billion years in it's existence, only a fourth of how long it has already been around, does beg the question as to what the life-sustaining window is.

Re:Human conditions (1)

dcw3 (649211) | about 8 months ago | (#46044851)

"The Mayans were wrong about 2012"

There's a surprise. Standard issue end-of-the-world religious prediction turns out to be incorrect. Who'd have thought eh?

Except that they weren't wrong.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2... [wikipedia.org]

Did he account for continental drift? (1)

Viol8 (599362) | about 8 months ago | (#46044075)

If his model is based on where continents and oceans are now it could well fail to predict what might happen in a billion years time. If there's more ocean around the equator in the future it could drastically increase how much heat earth absorbs, similarly if another giant continent such as Pangea forms there could be a huge desert in the centre reflecting back heat. Of course that also means less plant life so possibly less CO2 being absorbed etc.

Its an interesting intellectual exercise but I think at best any of these models should be taken with a whole cellar of salt when predicting that far into the future.

Subject to change (2)

Trax3001BBS (2368736) | about 8 months ago | (#46044077)

In the next computer run with different variables.

Re:Subject to change (2)

Sockatume (732728) | about 8 months ago | (#46044349)

Yes, I'm sure that the computational physics that performed the research must have overlooked one of the simplest principles of numerical modelling in performing the research. I'd love to hear your insights into the Rosetta mission. "That's not a comet, that's clearly just a smudge on the lens. They obviously forgot to clean the probe after they made it."

Re:Subject to change (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46044727)

You mean the data supporting the report? Or for the simulation we live in?

Re:Subject to change (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46044955)

Ah, the good old FDIV bug strikes again!

Other limiting factors (1)

shrewdsheep (952653) | about 8 months ago | (#46044093)

There are other limiting factors eventually causing life to go extinct. One important is CO2 which is absorbed into the oceans and recirculated by volcanic activity driven by radioactivity. Radioactivity will cease in about 500 mio yrs, IIRC, which is when life will end due to scarcity of CO2.

Re:Other limiting factors (1)

EzInKy (115248) | about 8 months ago | (#46044147)

Life will find a way!

Re:Other limiting factors (1)

michelcolman (1208008) | about 8 months ago | (#46044499)

We should produce more CO2 while we still can, then!

Even in the old timeframe (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46044223)

Assuming we don't kill ourselves, in hundreds of millions of years space engineering would be so advanced that a partial shield against a warming Sun would be a likely defense. Our problems seem to be on dealing with somewhat shorter range threats, like centuries or millenia (i.e., dealing with global warming, an eventual comet or big asteroid hit, a supervulcano going havoc, a third world war) than on millions years range, when technology would probably be mature enough to enable us to survive.

Heck, in a 5 billions years range, if a species descendent from us still populates the Earth, saving the Sun from becoming a red giant someway or fleeing the planet might be just a matter of economic, and not scientific, debate.

if we stop spewing carbon combustibles (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46044539)

the real weather will return in about 3 years guaranteed

meanwhile!@#$ http://www.globalresearch.ca/weather-warfare-beware-the-us-military-s-experiments-with-climatic-warfare/7561 most of us won't be here?

Thought will die soon (1)

gnasher719 (869701) | about 8 months ago | (#46044305)

Thought will die in the next twenty years or so.
Earth will die in a billion years or so.
Earth won't die as soon as thought.

That's not news.

Thank God (1)

zakeria (1031430) | about 8 months ago | (#46044313)

Now I can sleep better tonight!

thanks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46044339)

thanks for sharing game friv [frivhot.com]

here for a good long time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46044443)

we should make better use of our resources? http://news.yahoo.com/company-west-virginia-spill-failed-disclose-second-chemical-013146604--sector.html

& our heros// world's local hero http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=scott%20olsen&sm=3

lmprove our 'accounting' pf ourselves http://rt.com/business/us-unemployment-economy-crisis-assistance-006/ as crooked little finger pointing is obsolete

never a better time to consider ourselves in relation to each other, & our centerpeace momkind's new clear options.. see you there

'weather' permitting http://www.globalresearch.ca/weather-warfare-beware-the-us-military-s-experiments-with-climatic-warfare/7561

pssshhhhh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46044545)

Humanity will either self-destruct, or destroy the Earth long before 1 billion years.

I give humanity less than 10,000 years. Then it's back to singled celled organisms.

Crap (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46044551)

Better repent before it's too late.

Were meteors added into the simulations ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46044653)

Were meteors added into the simulations ?

What are the chances of a wipe out if they include meteor impacts ?

Remember Anthropogenic Climate Change? (1)

E++99 (880734) | about 8 months ago | (#46044809)

All this assumes that humans with hundreds of millions of years worth of technological development will not be able to figure out a way to reflect away excess sunlight.

Re:Remember Anthropogenic Climate Change? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46044925)

All this assumes that humans with hundreds of millions of years worth of technological development will not be able to figure out a way to reflect away excess sunlight.

If the muzzies get their way we will be back living in the dark ages

Re:Remember Anthropogenic Climate Change? (1)

bunratty (545641) | about 8 months ago | (#46045443)

Even the most dire predictions don't forecast climate change ending all life on Earth. Here's a sample worst-case scenario [usatoday.com] . It's bad, not as bad as the effects of a widespread nuclear war or an impact from a moderately sized asteroid, but bad enough to warrant spending a few percent of our GDP to avoid the worst scenarios of global warming.

Life can still exist without the surface water (1)

InterGuru (50986) | about 8 months ago | (#46044827)

A Princeton-led research group has discovered [princeton.edu] an isolated community of bacteria nearly two miles underground that derives all of its energy from the decay of radioactive rocks rather than from sunlight. According to members of the team, the finding suggests life might exist in similarly extreme conditions even on other worlds.

vapourising all the planet's water (1)

Chrisq (894406) | about 8 months ago | (#46044935)

vapourising all the planet's water ... that's just taking the piss!

What? (1)

p51d007 (656414) | about 8 months ago | (#46045045)

The SUN won't vaporize our water? The sun??? I thought man was causing global warming?

mixed martial arts Brooklyn (1)

Renzogracieacademy (3474433) | about 8 months ago | (#46045113)

Mixed Martial Arts Brooklyn is a MMA academy which provides the skills of kickboxing, wrestling, and fighting to the people of every age with their own experience and help to improve their physical fitness and health standards up to larger extent.

great... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#46045183)

...still plenty of time to try to get laid

Not the only thing to worry about (1)

Alien54 (180860) | about 8 months ago | (#46045363)

from wikipedia

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T... [wikipedia.org]

In 600 million years

The Sun's increasing luminosity begins to disrupt the carbonate–silicate cycle; higher luminosity increases weathering of surface rocks, which traps carbon dioxide in the ground as carbonate. As water evaporates from the Earth's surface, rocks harden, causing plate tectonics to slow and eventually stop. Without volcanoes to recycle carbon into the Earth's atmosphere, carbon dioxide levels begin to fall.[30] By this time, they will fall to the point at which C3 photosynthesis is no longer possible. All plants that utilize C3 photosynthesis (~99 percent of present-day species) will die.[31]

in 800 Million years

Carbon dioxide levels fall to the point at which C4 photosynthesis is no longer possible.[31] Multicellular life dies out.[32]

I not that this would be rather inconvenient
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