Every star has a life cycle, and with our Sun, it is no different. In approximately 5 billion years, its energy will remain depleted, drastically transforming the Solar System.
The star remains powered by nuclear fusion and transforms hydrogen into helium gas to convert mass into energy. Once the fuel supply runs out, Sol will start to grow dramatically. Its outer layers will increase until it swallows much of the Solar System, becoming what astronomers call the Red Giant.
What will happen after that still generates debate among the scientific community. It is unclear exactly how much the Sun will expand and how conditions will change, but some things seem pretty likely. Slow death will kill life on Terra, but it can also create habitable worlds in colder parts of the Solar System.
The human race could find Pluto or other dwarf planets in the distant Kuiper Belt, a region after Neptune remained filled with icy space rocks. Like our Sun, if it expanded, these worlds would suddenly find themselves in the conditions necessary for the evolution of life.
These are the “habitable worlds of delayed gratification,” says terrestrial scientist Alan Stern of the Southwest Research Institute. “At the surface of Sol, in the Red Huge phase, the Kuiper Belt will be a metaphorical Miami Beach,” he enhances.
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See below what would occur to each planet in our Solar System in the last days of the star:
Throughout history, the planet closest to the Sun remained roasted by it. Despite that, Mercury has some icy regions at its poles. As the star ages, it would vaporize those parts before eventually doing the same for the entire planet, almost a slow-motion version of the Death Star from Star Wars.
Like Terra in size and composition, Venus differs from our planet by the condition of its hellish surface. Like the Sun, if it expanded, it would burn the planet’s atmosphere. Then Venus would too be consumed by the expansion of the star.
Although it may take 5 million years for the Sun to run out of fuel, likely, life on Earth disappeared long before that happened. That’s because the star is already getting brighter. According to estimates, within a billion years, the radiation from the star may become too strong for life to support here.
When the time comes for the star to become a red giant, Terra will also vaporize, perhaps a few million years after Mercury and Venus. All the rocks, fossils, and remains of creatures that lived here will be eaten up by the growing star, wiping out any remnants of humanity’s existence on Earth.
Even the radiation from the young Sun was too much for Mars to maintain an atmosphere capable of protecting life. However, recent evidence takes shown that the planet may still have water just below the surface. The Earth may escape the star’s actual reach, but that water will likely be gone by the time the Red Giant takes control of the Solar System.
Gas Giant planets
Like the Sun, By swallowing the closest planets, some of their material is likely released more profound into the solar system, existence assimilated into the bodies of the gas giants. However, the close-up of the star will vaporize Saturn’s symbolic rings as they remain made of ice. Furthermore, the same fate would run for the oceans of the moons. Europa, natural satellite of Jupiter, And Enceladus of Saturn.
New Habitable Zone?
After the Sun becomes the red giant, Pluto and its cousins in the Kuiper Belt And Neptune’s moon Triton, it may be the most valuable real estate in the Solar System; have you thought?. Today, these worlds contain abundant ice water and complex organic materials. Some of them can even keep oceans under their icy surfaces, or at least they could go in the distant past.
The surface temperatures of these dwarf planets are typically hundreds of degrees below zero. However, when Terra is grey, Pluto’s temperatures will be similar to our planet’s current averages.
In research published in the journal Astrobiology in 2003, Stern analyzed the possibility of life in the outer solar system after the Sun became the red giant. The Terra will be a toast. But Pluto will be excellent and filled with the same kinds of complex organic compounds. That happened when life first evolved on our planet. Scientist speaks the dwarf planet is likely to have a thick atmosphere and a liquid water surface.
Together, the worlds in this new habitable Zone will have three times the surface area of the first four planets in the solar system combined.
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