It's the End of the World as We Know It! - U2 Feedback

Go Back   U2 Feedback > Lypton Village > Free Your Mind > Free Your Mind Archive
Click Here to Login
 
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 01-13-2003, 11:10 PM   #1
ONE
love, blood, life
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 10,881
Local Time: 01:27 PM
It's the End of the World as We Know It!

End of World Has Already Begun, University of Washington Scientists Say in Book 'The Life and Death of Planet Earth'
By Ascribe, 1/13/2003 11:57
SEATTLE, Jan. 13 (AScribe Newswire) -- In its 4.5 billion years, Earth has evolved from its hot, violent birth to the celebrated watery blue planet that stands out in pictures from space. But in a new book, two noted University of Washington astrobiologists say the planet already has begun the long process of devolving into a burned-out cinder, eventually to be swallowed by the sun.

By their reckoning, Earth's ''day in the sun'' has reached 4:30 a.m., corresponding to its 4.5 billion-year age. By 5 a.m., the 1 billion-year reign of animals and plants will come to an end. At 8 a.m. the oceans will vaporize. At noon - after 12 billion years - the ever-expanding sun, transformed into a red giant, will engulf the planet, melting away any evidence it ever existed and sending molecules and atoms that once were Earth floating off into space.

''The disappearance of our planet is still 7.5 billion years away, but people really should consider the fate of our world and have a realistic understanding of where we are going,'' said UW astrophysicist Donald Brownlee. ''We live in a fabulous place at a fabulous time. It's a healthy thing for people to realize what a treasure this is in space and time, and fully appreciate and protect their environment as much as possible.''

In ''The Life and Death of Planet Earth,'' Brownlee and UW paleontologist Peter Ward use current scientific understanding of planets and stars, as well as the parameters of life, to provide a glimpse of the second half of life on Earth and what comes after.

The book, a sort of biography of our planet, is being published today by Times Books, a division of Henry Holt and Co. It is a sequel to Ward and Brownlee's best-selling and much-discussed book ''Rare Earth,'' in which they put forth the hypothesis that simple life is relatively common in the universe but complex, Earth-like life is exceedingly rare.

''The Life and Death of Planet Earth'' explains how the myriad life on Earth today was preceded by a long period of microbial dominance, and the authors contend that complex life eventually will disappear and be succeeded again by a period of only microbial life. They say that higher life will be removed much as it came into being, ecosystem by ecosystem. Aspects of the planet's past, such as numbingly cold ice ages, will be relived in the period of devolution.

''If we do begin to slide into the next glacial cycle, there probably are grand, planetary-scale engineering projects that might stop or lessen the effects,'' Ward said.

''The big unknowns are whether we can afford to do such projects and would we really know what to do. If the planet was cooling, we could, in principle, begin painting the surface black to collect more heat. Could we afford it? And what would be the many possible ramifications of a planet suddenly covered in black paint? Any planetary remediation project would always run the risk of making things worse.''

Eventually, though, scorching heat will drive land creatures to the sea for respite. Those that can adapt will survive for a time, but eventually the oceans will warm too much for the complex life forms to continue.

''The last life may look much like the first life - a single-celled bacterium, survivor and descendant of all that came before,'' the authors write. Finally, even the surviving microbes ''will be seared out of existence.''

The prospects of humans surviving by moving to some other habitable planet or moon aren't good, Brownlee and Ward contend, because even if such a place were found, getting there would be a huge obstacle. Various probes sent into space could survive Earth's demise, and just a few grams of material could arguably carry a DNA sample from every human, they say, but it's not likely the human species itself will survive. Long before the planet's final end, life will become quite challenging, and finally impossible, for humans.

As the sun gets hotter and grows in size, it will envelop Mercury and Venus. It is possible it will stop just short of Earth, the authors say, but the conditions still would make this a most-inhospitable planet. More likely, though, the sun will consume Earth as well, severing all the chemical bonds between molecules and sending its individual atoms out into space, perhaps eventually to form new planets. That would leave Mars as the nearest planet to the sun, and on Mars the fading sun's glow would be like that of Earth's moon.

That end is still some 7.5 billion years distant, but by then Earth will have faced a variety of ''ends'' along the way, the authors say. The last dinosaur perished long ago. Still to come are the last elephant, the last tree, the last flower, the last glacier, the last snowflake, the last ocean, the last life.

''The Life and Death of Planet Earth'' is like its predecessor, ''Rare Earth,'' in that the authors collected and distilled some of the latest scientific ideas about the Earth's place in the universe, Brownlee said. He hopes the new book, like ''Rare Earth,'' will spark widespread discussion, and give people a fundamental and realistic view of the past and future of their planet.

''It's a healthy thing to think of the place of Earth among the other planets, and its place in the sun. The sun gave life and ultimately it will bring death.''

A high-resolution version of the Earth's Clock of Life image can be downloaded at http://www.washington.edu/newsroom/n...earthclock.jpg
__________________

__________________
Dreadsox is offline  
Old 01-13-2003, 11:13 PM   #2
Rock n' Roll Doggie
ALL ACCESS
 
speedracer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: MD
Posts: 7,572
Local Time: 01:27 PM
And I feel fine.

(It's time I had some time alone)
__________________

__________________
speedracer is offline  
Old 01-13-2003, 11:59 PM   #3
Rock n' Roll Doggie
FOB
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 8,876
Local Time: 06:27 PM
"Rare Earth" was a great book and convinced me that even if there is complex life elsewhere in the Universe, its so rare and far away that will never come into contact with it. This book looks good but they will never convince me that the human race won't be able to survive if were still around hundreds of millions of years from now. If the human race is still here in 10,000 years with uninterupted technology gains, will make it through anything.
__________________
STING2 is offline  
Old 01-14-2003, 12:04 AM   #4
Rock n' Roll Doggie
ALL ACCESS
 
speedracer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: MD
Posts: 7,572
Local Time: 01:27 PM
I forget which Calvin and Hobbes book this is from, but:

Calvin: "I think the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us."
__________________
speedracer is offline  
Old 01-14-2003, 11:16 AM   #5
Rock n' Roll Doggie
FOB
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 8,876
Local Time: 06:27 PM
Big Grin

That was good!
__________________
STING2 is offline  
Old 01-14-2003, 01:07 PM   #6
ONE
love, blood, life
 
melon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Posts: 11,781
Local Time: 01:27 PM
I would say that our chance of surviving another 500 million years is certainly improbable, if only that no other complex species has ever been able to last that long. Of course, out of all species, we certainly would have the greatest chance of survival, but, as much as Earth has changed over the last 500 million years, we certainly cannot predict nor can we necessarily stop what could happen in that time.

Of course, we certainly have a long, long way before that comes.

Melon
__________________
melon is offline  
Old 01-14-2003, 01:24 PM   #7
Rock n' Roll Doggie
FOB
 
oliveu2cm's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Live from Boston
Posts: 8,334
Local Time: 02:27 PM
I wonder what the human race will do to try and preserve itself.
__________________
oliveu2cm is offline  
Old 01-14-2003, 02:29 PM   #8
Rock n' Roll Doggie
FOB
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Posts: 8,876
Local Time: 06:27 PM
If humans develop the ability to live independently of the planet Earth, its changes in the next 500 million years will not matter. Look how far we have come in 10,000 years. Can you imagine the technology that will exist in 10,000 years time if were still here?

Technology is a factor that other species on the planet have never had. The Suns expansion may make the moons of Saturn and Jupiter more habitable. But again, for humans to survive indefinitely, we'll have to develop a way to live in space indefinitely.
__________________
STING2 is offline  
Old 01-14-2003, 02:40 PM   #9
ONE
love, blood, life
 
melon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Posts: 11,781
Local Time: 01:27 PM
The problem with the Sun's expansion into a red giant is that, with that expansion, it doesn't mean that the Sun will be more intense. In fact, the Sun as a red giant will likely emit weaker radiation, which will likely make the proposition on surviving anywhere else in the solar system very unlikely, as life is contigent on a certain level of solar radiation.

Of course, who knows. Humanity may perfect space travel to alternate solar systems and galaxies, where we may be able to find another planet to inhabit.

Melon
__________________
melon is offline  
Old 01-14-2003, 02:43 PM   #10
Rock n' Roll Doggie
ALL ACCESS
 
speedracer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: MD
Posts: 7,572
Local Time: 01:27 PM
Quote:
Originally posted by melon
The problem with the Sun's expansion into a red giant is that, with that expansion, it doesn't mean that the Sun will be more intense. In fact, the Sun as a red giant will likely emit weaker radiation, which will likely make the proposition on surviving anywhere else in the solar system very unlikely, as life is contigent on a certain level of solar radiation.

Nah, we'd just need to install rocket engines on Mars to move it a bit closer to the sun.
__________________

__________________
speedracer is offline  
 

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 01:27 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Design, images and all things inclusive copyright © Interference.com