It's a bug's life: Microbes to inherit the Earth
PARIS (AFP) - Two billion years from now, an ever-hotter Sun will have cooked the Earth, leaving microbes confined to pockets of water in mountains or caves as the last survivors, a study said on Monday.
The bleak scenario is proposed by astrobiologist Jack O'Malley-James of the University of St. Andrews, Edinburgh.
As the Sun ages over the next billion years, it will become more luminous, cranking up the thermostat on the Earth, Dr O'Malley-James suggests in a computer model presented at a meeting of Britain's Royal Astronomical Society (RAS).
Increased evaporation rates and chemical reactions with rainwater will cause a dramatic fall in levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2), on which plants depend for photosynthesis. Animals, in turn, depend on plants.