Sep 5, 2015

Lessons From Dying Extrasolar Earths

Posted by in category: cosmology

For those who missed this.

By all counts, Earth is on a one way trip to oblivion. Our aging Sun will see to that. Within 500 to 900 million years from now, photosynthesis and plant life on Earth will reach a death-spiral tipping point as the Sun continues its normal expansion and increases in luminosity over time.

Trouble is, researchers are still unsure about all the grisly endgame details, and their models of such slow motion horrors are hard to test. But a team of researchers now say that finding and observing nearby aging Earth-analogues, undergoing the ravages of their own expanding sun-like stars, will help Earth scientists understand how the stellar evolution of our own sun will affect life here on Earth.

“[Within] 500 million years figure most plants become extinct, although some could potentially last up to 900 million years from now by employing more carbon-efficient photosynthetic pathways,” Jack O’Malley-James, an astrobiologist at the University of St. Andrews in the U.K. told Forbes. “At this point the biosphere as we know it on Earth will be dramatically different, but not necessarily completely dead.”.

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