Why scientists believe life on Earth will perish way earlier than previously thought

WION Web Team
New Delhi, Delhi, IndiaEdited By: Bharat SharmaUpdated: Mar 02, 2021, 06:50 PM IST
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Representative image Photograph:(AFP)

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Scientists now believe that the Earth will perish much before the Sun's existential shenanigans consume life on our planet.

Like all things in the universe, our planet Earth too will fizzle out eventually. Scientists estimate that Earth has about five billion years before the Sun loses its energy, and swallows most of what is currently our solar system. 

Think five billion years is a long time? Think again, for scientists now believe that the Earth will perish much before the Sun's existential shenanigans consume life on our planet.

A new study claims that Earth now has only a billion years before it slowly dies out. The planet will not be devoured by fire, a collision, or alien invasion, but actually will perish in the face of diminishing oxygen reserves.

Earth is already losing oxygen and will expel most of the life-sustaining gas from its atmosphere in a billion years' time.   Currently, oxygen accounts for 20 per cent of the Earth's atmosphere. A lot of this is produced by plants on the planet, which keeps all creatures breathing.

Researchers from Georgia Tech and Toho University recently joined hands to ascertain the life span of oxygen in the planet's atmosphere, which in turn will essentially dictate how quickly life vanishes from Earth - an inevitable truth for all things born in the universe. They published their study in Nature Geoscience.

To reach a conclusion, scientists came up with simulations of basic systems on Earth - including climate, along with biological and geological processes which dictate the route of life. They observed the change in oxygen levels as the stimulation shuffled between air, water, and rock - the three basic tenets of earthly life.

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The atmosphere as we know it right now will continue to flourish for a billion years, after which it will begin to deteriorate rapidly. 1.1 billion years from now, oxygen levels are slated to drop to a whopping 1 per cent of the planet's current capability.

Beginning a billion years from now, the same old cycle of life will prevail on planet Earth, making it as desolate as it was 2.4 billion years ago.