Micro Life Zone
Asked by jocky686 to Dirk, Elise, Janette, Renee, Yusuf on 17 May 2012.
Keywords: collide, earth, hit, space, sun
Oh my what a dreadful thought. The earth is in a stable orbit around the sun. That orbit over time will eventually decay and the earth will be pulled to the sun by the sun’s gravity. Buuuuuuut, that is so far away that the sun will actually explode 1st in something like [best Carl Sagan voice] 5 billion years (see link 1) below)!!
If on the other hand we get hit by a large asteroid or comet and pool table style are knocked out of our orbit it could be sooner. Of course if that were to happen all life on earth would go extinct after the impact. Remember the one that killed off the dinosaurs was big but did not alter the earths orbit all that much.
Defnintely not my field but here is an interesting read. The reference for the actual published manuscript is at the bottom of the article.
The more likely eventuality is that earth will be swallowed up by the sun. Like Dirk said, the sun will begin to seriously expand in about 5-7 billion years. As it expands, it’s also going to lose mass, which will make the pull of its gravity upon the earth weaker. So it’s possible that as the sun expands, and gets lighter, the earth will drift away from it. Some people have suggested we could slowly drag the orbit of the earth outwards using a large asteroid, but this would have to be done so slowly it would take 1 billion years – should we start planning now? 🙂
Possible, but not probable. Close to impossible in our lifetimes. It is more likely that we will drive ourselves to extinction before earth get swallowed up by the sun.
It is hard to forget the relative sizes of earth and sun. Here is a picture: http://www.relfe.com/07/solar_system_sun_earth_size.html If the sun is size of a soccer ball, the earth is like a speck of dust in comparison.
The other scientists have answered this pretty well! I agree with what they say – while it could happen it is highly unlikely.
It is far more likely to be the other way around – the sun will eventually expand and hit us. But don’t worry, that’s not expected for another 7.6 billion years or so!
By BRIDGE8 under license from Mangorolla CIC 2020