Microbes: The last survivors on Earth after 2.8 billion years

Last Updated: Tuesday, July 2, 2013 - 18:28

Zee Media Bureau

Edinburgh: A new study has said that in about 2.8 billion years from now, an ever-hotter Sun will have cooked up the earth leaving microbes to be the last surviving creatures.

Researchers found that as the Sun becomes hotter and brighter, only microbes would be able to survive in the extreme conditions due to their ability to live on a hotter earth that has very little carbon dioxide.

In the study, researchers used a computer model to assess our planet’s fate, billions of years from now.

“There won’t be very much oxygen present, so they need to be able to survive in low or zero-oxygen environments, high pressures and high salinities because of evaporating oceans,” said Jack O’Malley James of the University of St Andrews, Edinburgh.

The study is being presented at a meeting of Britain’s Royal Astronomical Society (RAS).

Increased evaporation rates and chemical reactions with rainwater will cause a dramatic drop in levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2), on which plants depend for photosynthesis. Animals, in turn, depend on plants.

In a billion years’ time, the oceans will dry up completely due to intense heat, leaving microbial life able to adapt to strong ultra-violet radiation and raging heat from the Sun.

“The far-future Earth will be very hostile to life by this point. All living things require liquid water, so any remaining life will be restricted to pockets of liquid water, perhaps at cooler, higher altitudes or in caves or underground,” O’Malley James said in a press release.

With Agency inputs

First Published: Tuesday, July 2, 2013 - 18:27

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