October 23, 2021

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Lack Of Oxygen Will Kill All Life On Earth In A Billion Years, Claim Researchers



Turns out, Elon Musk was kind of right.

We need to find a habitable planet as an alternative to the Earth as soon as possible.

Although the earth – huge as it is – may seem eternally supportive of life, new research has found that in just a billion years, atmospheric oxygen levels will decrease to such an extent that all life on the planet will suffocate and die.

That means, despite the Earth technically having seven billion more years of life left – until our sun becomes a red giant and swallows most objects in the inner solar system – it won’t support life anymore and will be closer to how the planet Venus is in current day.

In a paper published in the journal Nature Geoscience early this year, researchers from Toho University in Japan and Georgia Institute of Technology in the United States have revealed that in the future, Earth’s atmosphere will be rich in methane will have very low concentrations of oxygen.

“We find that the Earth’s oxygenated atmosphere will not be a permanent feature,” Kazumi Ozaki, corresponding author of the paper, and a professor at the Toho University told the New Scientist.

The change will take the planet’s atmosphere to a state it was before the Great Oxidation Event some 2.4 billion years ago.

Crucially, the shift is a natural phenomenon and is part of a cycle that the atmosphere is going through over billions of years. That means, although human activity is not the cause of the change, it also means humans do not have any control over the change either. However, a billion years is a lot of time to find an alternative planet.

According to the researchers, during the deoxygenation of the atmosphere, oxygen levels will drop sharply to levels similar to that of the Archaean Earth – between four billion to two-and-half billion years ago, just after the planet had cooled down after intense volcanic activity.

“The Earth system will probably be a world of anaerobic life forms,” Ozaki said.

Cover Image: Shutterstock



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