25 thoughts on “Life On Earth”

  1. “Remember what I said about our Sun getting hotter over time? That’s still happening and in about a billion more years it will do to Earth what it did to Venus. All life on Earth will die. The End.”

    In addition to the stated interstellar colonies one could imagine the tech of millions of years from being able to slowly spiral out the earth as the sun grew hotter. Don’t how fast that transition from main sequence star burning hydrogen in the core to red giant burning hydrogen in the surrounding areas of the core happens (to say nothing of eventual Helium burning). But their should be more than enough time to say over hundreds of thousands of years to move the earth further(and mars out of its way) from the sun. Practically speaking anyone that advanced wouldn’t really need to do so but maybe for sentimental reason; the earth as the ancestral home of extinct original non genetically engineered homo sapiens (and everything else).

    1. When I first read that part, I really panicked. But then I reread it, and realized that he had written “about a billion years.” I had mistakenly read it as “about a million years.”


      1. My source for this concern is Wikipedia, the world’s most authoritative information source.

        The article “Timeline of the far future” places thermogeddon at a mere 500 million years from now. 500 million years is where I draw the line and start to worry.

        Seriously, at a lecture on the perils of what was then called Global Warming before a dinner club of university people, it was tens of years ago, two of the astronomers took me aside afterwards and cautioned me about believing any of this. Their argument is that the Sun has been increasing in luminosity, steadily over the last 5 billion years and nothing haywire has gone on with the Earth’s climate, so there must be self-regulatory mechanisms that will save us from Global Warming.

        What they were talking about is something I didn’t “get” at the time, but I have read a lot about the subject ever since learning of the Chinese film The Wandering Earth about the Sun turning red giant in the next few decades. (Not even remotely is going to happen — the flick is Chinese natural disaster pron.)

        As the Sun fuses hydrogen into helium in its central core region, the Sun inexorably brightens as the supply of hydrogen in the core diminishes and is replaced with helium, an element of higher molecular weight. This is known from computer simulations of the Sun and other stars.

        Long before the Sun exhausts its core-region hydrogen supply and enters its red giant phase, it is going to get significantly brighter than it is right now. The Sun will remain a Main Sequence star on the H-R diagram plotting luminosity against surface temperature, but the Main Sequence is a wide band on that plot owing to the effect in question.

          1. Yep. We’re constantly losing atmosphere to space and don’t have enough volcanic activity to replenish it. We’ve lost half our atmosphere in just the last 65 million years. 100 million years from now we’ll have a quarter of the atmosphere we do now; the only life remaining on earth will be around hydrothermal vents at the bottom of the ocean.

          2. Wonder why Venus didn’t lose its CO2 atmosphere to space like Mars did? Sure Venus has ~.8 earth surface gravity vs .38 for Mars but Venus gets ~ 4X times the radiation flux from the Sun and like Mars no significant magnetic field unlike the Earth.

        1. “Long before the Sun exhausts its core-region hydrogen supply and enters its red giant phase, it is going to get significantly brighter than it is right now.”

          Plenty of ways to boost the Earth outward into a further from the sun orbit. One off the top of my head use Ceres; Place it in free fall towards the Earth (not orbit around) and use powerful fusion powered rockets mounted on Ceres. As the Earth pulls Ceres in the rockets thrust back maintaining its relative distance from Earth; basically a “gravity-tractor” pulling Earth along as Ceres orbits out. Of course without a doubt our distant post genetically engineered/cyborg upgraded descendants would have methods of moving earth (or possibly stellar engineering the sun negating the need to move earth) far beyond that. Assuming they thought it worth the bother.

  2. And if you think moving the earth is to ambitious we have a precursor event to our nascent planetary engineering capabilities:

    “We narrowly missed a new ice age, and now we won’t see one for a long time
    Before fossil fuels rendered this moot, conditions were nearly right.”

    “The researchers conclude that we narrowly missed an ice age off-ramp in the past few thousand years because CO2 was just a touch too high. Lower the concentration by just 40 parts per million in the model, and ice sheets would already be growing by now—though the fossil fuel revolution would still be dictating a planetary U-turn.”

    “There are a couple interesting things to note about this. One is that it’s possible humans were responsible for higher CO2 concentrations even before the industrial revolution. There’s a debate among climate scientists about whether the advent of agriculture and deforestation had a significant impact thousands of years ago, forestalling the beginning of an ice age as a result.”


  3. That’s a garbage article by garbage people from the Potsdam Institute. A bunch of useless tax eaters promoting their propaganda with model simulations that have their desired outputs built in.
    The same tired old CO2 is the control knob rubbish.
    Look around. There is nothing unusual going on with the planetary climate. The only thing I’ve been able to find is that the Earth is greening because plants like the extra CO2.

  4. Well with the recent discovery of hydrogen in deep wells maybe we can start an aggressive program of hydrogen drilling and cap those wells with funnels that we ignite for thrust at particular times of the day and then extinguish after the requisite burn time to give us the additional orbital delta-v to move away!

    1. Is this the planetary scale version of igniting “body gases”?

      I didn’t think igniting body gas is possible owing to too much CO2 or water vapor in the blend, but Wikipedia, the world’s most authoritative information source states that this is a “thing” among teen men in the US and in Australia.

      My experience with this is that I bought a sensitive carbon monoxide personal exposure meter when I learned that the cheaper home CO alarm is very sensitive at all and is maybe even worthless, especially because they are said to wear out after a few years and no one I know purchases replacements on a regular schedule.

      It turns out the meter is sensitive to VOCs. I was wandering around the garage when the meter started flashing and beeping a warning at me.

      The Secret Service should purchase some of those meters to avoid national embarassment on presidential visits to the Vatican?

      1. Can I get that as a Smartphone App? There are subways I ride occasionally where that could be helpful.

        1. Not a smartphone app, but the personal exposure CO meter, reading down to 1 PPM, clips on your belt or your shirt pocket.

          It sounds an audible alarm and flashes lights if you have been exposed either to CO or to body gas.

          1. It goes “beep-beep-beep-beep-beep . . .”

            The Secret Service detail of the president need to have those meters clipped to their jacket pockets.

            When they go off, that can pull out lithium battery electric leaf blowers from under their shoulder holsters, directing the nozzles towards the person they are protecting for maxium gas dispersal.


            “Vrrrroooommmmmmmm!” “Vrooommmm!”

          2. I was always impressed that during the Reagan assassination attempt an amazing amount of firearm hardware appeared from underneath the clothing of the Secret Service protection detail. I’d be doubly impressed to see the same with leaf blowers.

      2. When it comes to biogas pre-burners I have to defer to my expert friends from junior high school days. As I understand it maintaining feed line pressure was crucial to avoiding serious blow back.

        1. It was especially educational finding out there were girls willing to do this for a mixed audience. With an adequate gas source it can be done with one’s trousers on, but what fun is that?

  5. I published a story called “Almost Forever” in the short-lived Tomorrow SF magazine about 30 years ago. The protagonist, an old man in his 80s, decided to travel a few centuries into the future in hopes of finding a cure for death. His time machine malfunctions and he emerges 2 billion years in the future. On wondering why the earth is still inhabitable (the old man was a geologist), his informant says, “Oh, we reheat the core periodically. And then we sometimes have to refuel the sun…”

  6. If we screw it up, the raccoon astronauts a million years hence will probably be scratching their heads at the flag on the moon. Maybe they’ll be saner than the monkeys.

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