While the figure was always put at around 5 billion years for this to happen when I remember going to school, University of Sussex astronomers have calculated that the Earth, in around 1 billion years, will see its oceans boil away into space.
They say this could be prolonged for another 5 billion years with changes to our planetary orbit, but if nothing is done, in 7.6 billion years from now the Earth could be a greatly diminished orbiting rock – if it survives at all.
According to a press release from the University of Sussex, Dr Robert Smith, the University’s Emeritus Reader in Astronomy, and his team, had previously calculated that the Earth would escape ultimate destruction, although be battered and burnt to a cinder.
Unfortunately, this did not take into account the effect of the drag caused by the outer atmosphere of the dying Sun – which would make the situation much worse.
Smith said that: "We showed previously that, as the Sun expanded, it would lose mass in the form of a strong wind, much more powerful than the current solar wind. This would reduce the gravitational pull of the Sun on the Earth, allowing the Earth's orbit to move outwards, ahead of the expanding Sun”.
But those were the old predictions, with the new one much more terrifying. Please read onto page 2 to see the new fate of the planet!
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One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks, including stints as presenter of Ch 10’s Internet Bright Ideas, Ch 7’s Room for Improvement and tech expert on Ch 9’s Today Show, among many other news and current affairs programs.