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Finance & Accounting
Pages 3 (753 words)
1. Humanity in A.D. 5,000,000,000. Do you think it is likely that humanity will survive until the Sun begins to expand into a red giant 5 billion years from now? Why or why not? By some estimates, the Sun has about another 500 million to 1 billion years left in it, until it starts to heat up.
At that point, Mars will be a reasonably habitable world for a few billion years longer. As the sun grows ever hotter and its diameter begins to expand, Mars will enjoy ever more abundant solar energy resources, as well as milder surface temperatures. Of course, with its puny atmosphere and total absence of any planetary magnetosphere, it will offer little protection against the eruptions of radiation from the increasingly bloated solar corona, but underground habitats on Mars should be quite sustainable for a very long time. About 4 billion years from now, the Sun will become a full-blown red giant, with a diameter large enough to swallow the Earth. At that point, there might be some viable space colonies maintainable in the asteroid belt. The Sun will be blowing off huge clouds of its outer atmosphere and the attendant radiation will make it rather a toxic environment for life; the vast amounts of electrically charged plasma flowing outward from the sun, and the contorted magnetic fields accompanying it, would also make things difficult for any unshielded electronic devices. Also, the massive outflows and increased radiation output from the Sun are likely to destabilize the Kuiper belt, and send lots of new comets zooming through the inner solar system, and smashing up the inner planets (Mars included). ...
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