Universe / 6 min read / 30 September 2021
The universe is a cosmos of never ending celestial bodies like galaxies, stars, asteroids, meteors and our home planet, Earth. But as climate change, global warming and pollution of all sorts reaches its peak, it becomes pretty sure to us that in 300 million years or less, it may become very inhospitable for life to continue to exist on our very own Blue Planet.
So, we’ll become the grasshoppers from The Grasshopper and the Ant, finish up all our resources and go knocking on the ant’s door.
Question arises: Who is the ant in this desperate time of crisis?
Ergo, let us take a ride through the solar system to see which heavenly body’s doorbell we ring about 300 million years from now.
First things first let us look at Mercury, the closest planet to The Sun, named after the Roman God Mercurius. So, is there life on Mercury? Well, let’s see. Extremely close to solar radiation, constantly changing temperatures, no atmosphere and intense tornadoes that funnel the fast, hot solar wind plasma down to the surface of the planet. Umm NEXT!
Next up, the hottest planet in the solar system- Venus. Yikes. Still, let us have a look. With extreme surface temperatures reaching nearly 735 K (462 °C; 863 °F) and an atmospheric pressure 90 times that of Earth, the conditions on Venus make water-based life as we know it unlikely on the surface of the planet. Also, Venus is completely covered in clouds. Still, there are some scientists who have speculated that some microorganisms which are adapted to such high temperatures do exist on Venus. But, due to the hostile conditions prevailing on the planet, human life is almost impossible.
Next, we have Mars. This is the one planet that shows some probability of being our next home. So, what are those things that make this planet inhabitable?
It is very similar to earth. Water, oxygen, gravity and the atmosphere are the four basic factors which make Earth survivable. Cumulative evidence suggests that there might be liquid water on Mars. It does have an atmosphere, though a much thinner one and gravity is a third of what we have on Earth. Oxygen is the problem. You see, Mars has 98% CO2 in its atmosphere and less than 1% oxygen. Don’t let your hopes down, NASA has a solution for that. They can use rovers to make oxygen but it’s not permanent.
Moreover, it shows origins of life. Rebecca Mickol found that in her laboratory, four species of methanogens survived low-pressure conditions that were similar to a subsurface liquid aquifer on Mars. The four species that she tested were Methanothermobacter wolfeii, Methanosarcina barkeri, Methanobacterium formicicum, and Methanococcus maripaludis.
Even after this, Mars has super cold temperature. So, the only way we can live there is if we live below the surface, that is, in sub-geothermal spots, which can keep us warm. Who knows, a million years from now we might be writing the red planet as our home planet in our science textbooks? The Outer planets are gas giants. Meaning, they don’t have a surface. They are made of gas. Also, it is icy there. Therefore, you cannot live on them. Life could exist on the moons of these planets though. (Let us know if you want an article on life on moons).
Now, I suppose you know which bell to ring when tragedy strikes.
(Photos by NASA on Unsplash )